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"Closed Form"
Charcoal on Paper, 14 inches by 20 inches
By Cindy Nu Chai

Cindy Chai, a third-year Dartmouth medical student, double-majored in art and cell biology in college. Her artistic interests almost got derailed early on, however. She started art classes at age six, but her mother "stopped my drawing lessons after two years because I 'didn't show potential' and instead enrolled me in extra math classes, which I also enjoyed." But Chai continued to love drawing and eventually, she says, "when my mom realized how much art meant to me, she actively looked for art studios for me to learn and work in." Chai now enjoys all sorts of mediums—especially oil painting, as well as charcoal, acrylics, color pencils, oil pastels, and clay. She's tried a range of styles, too. "I am drawn to human bodies and faces," she says, but her portfolio includes other representational subjects as well as abstract works. The drawing above was selected for inclusion in the 2007 issue of Lifelines, DMS's student-run literary journal. "It is amazing to be able to turn to art after a hard day at school or in the hospital," Chai says. Art "calms me and centers me," she adds, while medicine offers "endless ideas and emotions" for her art—"a wonderful combination."

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