The Chess Set

I am walking in my living room and I brush my chess set, knocking the pieces over. I quickly attempt to pick up the pieces and organize them but they are scattered across the room and under furniture. I know the big pieces like the kings, queens, and bishops will be easy to find and are most likely intact but I worry for the smaller and more fragile pieces like the pawns. Eventually, I gather all the pieces I can find and reorganize them in systematic ways, the white and black sides staring each other down in a cool indifference.

I remember my father telling me about the chess set. He and my mother were at an antique auction and my dad immediately fell in love with it. Intricately carved from beautiful pieces of polished woods, the mahogany and lighter brown colors shone and sparkled in the light. My father had to have it and bought it impulsively without asking my mother. It was very expensive so my mother was furious. However, she relented when he told her how important chess was to him because he played with his father. Soon enough, my father taught me to play (and always beat me) but I loved just playing with him. Now I think the chess set wants to be played again because we haven’t touched it in years. I hope that the chess set will always be there to bring my family together.

It has been a long time since my father and I have played anything together because my teenage years have given me friends and autonomy. Still, I wish to play with him again and when I ask, he agrees. For a moment, it is like I am a young child again, spending quality time with my father. Our moves in response to one another, a tango of the wooden figures. Then, miraculously, I beat him. I say “checkmate” as he gapes in astonishment, then smiles, and its as if its a rite of passage into becoming an adult.

Fresh Paint – “Lady Liberty, Inspiring Even in Pieces”

“Lady Liberty, Inspiring Even In Pieces”

Fresh Paint Post by Kunal Kang

The Statue of Liberty is the epitome of democracy in America. Having stood in New York’s harbor for over a hundred years, the Statue of Liberty is a shining beacon of hope not only to New Yorkers, but Americans as a whole. To me, it is such an amazing and comforting thing to see the Statue standing there on my ferry rides to and from the city every day. It provides me with hope for the future and reminds me of all the opportunities I have because I am fortunate enough to live here in America.

This personal feeling towards the Statue of Liberty was inspired in me by Hilarie M. Sheets article “Lady Liberty, Inspiring Even In Pieces”. This article tells about how an artist named Danh Vo “has been recasting a life-size Statue of Liberty” from copper, just like the original. Vo has called his creation “We the People”, a reference to the United States Constitution, but here’s the catch: Vo has been separating the pieces of his work and scattering them around the world after they are made. Several pieces of Vo’s work are now visible at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago, but the pieces will be viewable at 15 select locations around the world once they are finished being made. Vo has talked about his work being “both a monster and a virus that can move fluidly and mutate as it is shuffled to new places”.

Officially, Vo has not revealed his intended meaning for his project but Susanne Ghez, a director at the University of Chicago, has said that “it raises the question of democratization in the U.S. and our history of imperialism”. By taking a well known symbol of American freedom and scattering the pieces, Vo is either trying to say that democracy and freedom is spreading throughout the world through America’s influence or that American freedom itself is being threatened and on the verge of being broken apart. Both messages are powerful (one good, one bad) and I think Vo realized this when he refused to comment about the meaning and purpose of his work. I believe Vo intended each individual to see his project and make their own personal decision about it.

I felt that Vo’s project exhibited America’s freedom being torn apart, although I do not feel that this is true. When I read this article, it affected me deeply because the Statue of Liberty has always been something so solid and everlasting. To me, Vo’s scattering of he pieces of his Lady Liberty represented the breaking apart of democracy itself in America because it contrasts with the unified and guided appearance of the actual Statue of Liberty. Also, the image of a recreation of an important American symbol being broken up and scattered around the world angered me because I felt it did not fully respect an important piece of American history. The only thing I could compare it to in my mind is that cutting up and scattering of the American flag, which many would consider a heinous act. Yes, American has been going through some hard times but it has never stopped being the leading symbol of hope and freedom in the world, seeking to help those less fortunate. Vo’s work, though unique and unprecedented, send a negative and unrealistic view of America that I do not agree with.

What about you? Do you think Vo’s work is celebrating or eulogizing democracy? How do you feel about democracy in America?


Where do I live?I live in the connections I make throughout my life. When I recall my home, I do not solely see four walls and a roof, I see the links and bonds I made there. I can smell the breakfast my mom is cooking on Saturday mornings. I can hear my dog barking whenever a stranger is passing by the house. I can feel my heart pounding as I sprint for a touchdown playing football with my friends.

Growing up in Staten Island, I formed connections that will last me a lifetime. I became closer to my family and they have helped me grow especially my sister Simran and my dog Lucky. My sister has helped me grow from the immature teen who  I once was into the (slightly) less immature college student I am today while my dog has taught me to be responsible and caring. Finally, my friends are the biggest connections that form where I live. Throughout my life, my friends have been there for me, whether to shoot around a basketball or to pick me up when I fall. They have taught me to be more open and accepting to new ideas, encouraging me to embrace the college experience. Because of them I know that I can make even greater bonds in college while still keeping the ones that I have held dearly for so long. Though where I live may change over the years, I am certain that I will always reside in the connections that I form and the friends that I make. Technically, I live in Staten Island but where do I really reside? I reside in the connections I make throughout life.

I love recliners

Hi, my name is Kunal Kang and I’m from Staten Island. I love reading, playing my sax, and playing sports. I always try and stay active through sports and love to compete.

In my next few years of college I hope to learn more about the city and all the different types of art it contains.