UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- What is it like to complete your life's goal at the age of 18?
A young woman from New York City says that she's accomplished it.
"Empowering, different, I don't my work to be like everyone else's," said Cliffanie Forrester, 18-year-old artist.
Indeed, this high school Senior from East New York has a unique, powerful style which can now admire in person at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
"I saw Degas, Van Gogh. To know I'm in same museum as them is a big deal for me," Cliffanie said.
More than 1,200 original works of art were submitted by public school students across the city for this annual contest. This year, 89 works were chosen for the great honor of hanging at the Met.
"It's well painted, the composition is wonderful, the foreground, middle ground, background, all of those things associated with this object are exceptional," said Sandra Jackson-Dumont, of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
When looking for inspiration to paint, Cliffanie locked in on a young girl from Uganda.
Cliffanie served as a missionary there and came back changed forever.
"I struggled a lot with the painting," Cliffanie said.
Cliffanie says she painted the background five times. She began with cloudy, brooding skies, but eventually settled on a clear sky, mountains and hope.
"I decided to change the background to make her look more empowering," Cliffanie said.
"Every time I look at her artwork, I just cry," said Mary Forrester, Cliffanie's mother.
The painting called "Uganda" will hang at the Met until October. Then, Cliffanie will finally sign it. By then, she will be in college pursuing a degree in fine arts.
Teen says she accomplished life's goal, her art displayed in the Met