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braveA brave warrior cat created by 10-year-old Sophia Black of Sanibel stands strong on this year’s poster for the annual Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest in February.

Sophia is the event’s featured artist. She created the work with the encouragement and guidance of wellknown local artist Ellen Sheppard, who invited Sophia to her garage studio to draw her creation.

Sophia had a very clear vision of what she would draw before she stepped into the artist’s Fort Myers studio. She came armed with a notebook full of sketches of her version of the solar system, which consists of planets primarily populated with cats that stand upright like people.

Sophia, the daughter of A.J. and Jolie Black, has been undergoing treatment at Golisano for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a blood cancer. Her artwork, done in colored pencils, features a female warrior cat with blue-shadowed eyes, pink ears and long brown hair, just like Sophia used to have. She’s standing serenely on a lush green lawn surrounded by flowers, a blue sky and butterflies.

“I like to draw because I can really express my imagination,”Sophia said. “The cat in my drawings represents calm freedom.”

Her drawing will be put up for bid during the live auction, which will take place Saturday, Feb. 28.