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Doodle for Google: Why today’s drawing by Arantza Peña Popo is so special

'I wanted to make it about my mother,' said winner

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 13 August 2019 17:02 BST
Google Doodle 2019 national winner 'When I grow up, I hope...'

Today's Google Doodle might look to be like any other, showing a touching, sentimental image illustrating something about the day.

And it is. But it also much more: it is made by the winner of a Google competition, who has shared the poignant story behind its creation.

Most of Google's Doodles are made by Google itself, often with collaboration from experts. They tend to commemorate events in history, marking the anniversary of birthdays, deaths or major breakthroughs from across culture.

But this time around the drawing was done by Georgia-based high school senior Arantza Peña Popo. She is the winner of the Doodle 4 Google competition, which gave young people to submit drawings in the hope of being chosen as the one that would be shown to millions of people on the Google homepage and this year had the theme of "When I grow up, I hope".

And the story that the drawing commemorates is touching. Arantza chose not to commemorate any spectacular invention or event, but instead to make a drawing for her mother.

"I wanted to make it about my mother," she said. "She's made too many sacrifices for me.

"I wanted to show me paying it back in the future. I want to care for her in the future and make her life better in the future."

The image shows a painting that really hangs in her home, of her mother holding her as a baby. And beneath it is Arantza herself, looking after her mother, years on.

“When I grow up, I hope to care for my mom as much as she cared for me my entire life,” Arantza wrote in the message she sent to Google along with the artwork. She named the piece 'Once you get it, give it back'.

The winner was announced on Jimmy Fallon's show, just hours before it started showing for people across the US. Fallon helped judge the award, and said on the show: "I loved yours – I looked a lot of great doodles, I guess, but honestly it is just beautiful art".

He said that the winning Doodle had been chosen from 200,000 submissions. In return for the win, and in addition to being shown to the millions of people who visit the homepage, Fallon announced that Arantza had won a $50,000 tech package for her school – where she just graduated as valedictorian – as well as a $30,000 college scholarship, for when she starts at the University of Southern California later this year.

Arantza started drawing at the age of three, Google said, and in the future wants to go on to publish alternative graphic novels and comics in the future. At the moment she is teaching herself to skateboard.

She was described by her mother as someone who "lights up any room she is in". And the two hope to go on to enjoy more experiences together, Arantza said, such as travelling the world.

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