I always look forward to this opportunity to judge the entries for this annual contest. It is be-cause I get to look at works of art that I would otherwise never have the chance to see. All drawings are produced with what comes from the heart of the children.
We as the judges use our intuition to select drawings that we like and pieces that leave an im-pression in our heart. My mentor Ryohei Koiso taught me that "it is important to choose drawings not based on the skill level but based on whether you like it or not, and to draw what you like."
This year, we saw a few entries that depicted babies inside the mothers' wombs. The children know by intuition that the Earth does not exist just during the duration in which they are alive, but it is something that they need to pass on to the children not born yet, the children of the future, as well as generations of children that follow. I think this is wonderful.
All entries are like a mirror to the minds of the children that drew them. Just looking at their drawings shows what they are thinking and feeling in their daily lives. Every year I strongly believe that drawings communicate your feelings to others and bring people together regard-less of language difference. Children draw with such sincerity that each drawing are packed with more meaning than a book on philosophy. The closer you look at each drawing, you will notice that it is quite profound.
The entries to this contest will be shown at various exhibitions. We hope that children and adults alike will have the opportunity to look at the drawings. I can guarantee you will have a very meaningful time.
Chairman of the Judging Committee,
Painter / Emeritus Professor of Tokyo University of the Arts
I am delighted to learn that many children around the world took part in this year's drawing contest. I truly enjoy and appreciate all of the paintings, so unique and colorful, filled with children's dreams and hopes.
It was enjoyable to witness children's keen observation and insight to make harmony with the global environment. I am impressed to see what peace means to children and what future they want. Their paintings touch our heart and remind us our responsibilities of building a peaceful and better world for future generation.
UNICEF works for a world in which every child has a fair chance in life. We work in more than 190 countries with partners towards advancing the children's rights. We believe all children have a right to survive, thrive, and fulfill their potential. As Director of UNICEF Tokyo, I will continue to make efforts to build a world where children are protected, receive fair chances, and reach their full potential.
Finally, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Japan Quality Assurance Organization and the International Certification Network for organizing this wonderful event and mobilizing children's participation to reflect their visions towards global environmental issues.
UNICEF Tokyo Office
Nurturing the Culture of Life
Children have a diverse way of looking at the reality of the Earth's environment. Some see it with a critical eye in light of crises such as natural disasters and environmental damages, some have sympathy and compassion toward all living things that coexist on this planet and some hold strong feelings that the Earth belongs to the future generations.
There was an entry from Poland that left a strong impression on me. It depicts the two sides of the relationship between the self and whole that surround the main subject. Portraying the composition of polarity between excessive artificial urbanization and preservation of untamed wildness, it shows how children have a perfect way of finding the right balance.
Nurturing the culture of life gives children the opportunity to have the first-hand experience of their surrounding environment and is extremely important from the point of view of fostering both children's minds and the Earth's environment. There was an entry from Japan that captured the peaceful scenery of a field full of hulless barley swaying in the wind, expressing the luxury of being able to enjoy delicious miso paste. It definitely put a smile on my face.
This year, the contest celebrates its 17th year and continues to play an important role in helping children all around the world grow up to lead the way in conserving the Earth's environment. I look forward to seeing more and more exciting works of art in the coming years.
Architect / Chief Manager of NPO,
Troop for Nurturing Community Engawa
This year, there were 17,197 entries from 94 countries around the world. I had the wonderful opportunity to look at the works of art that made it into the final stage. This year's theme, "The blue Earth, for whom?" may have been a rather familiar theme that allowed children to come up with a wealth of creative ideas.
However, the weight of the messages contained in some of the entries was actually more than what I had expected. There was one drawing which had depicted a story heard from an elderly that was filtered through the child's special lenses. I think children have an extraordinary way of manifesting their emotions using parts of the body other than the brain that are beyond my imagination.
You can tell that the colors and shapes in the drawings are the honest rendering of their passion by using all five senses to the fullest. Along with an overwhelming sensation, which I actually enjoy, I always get this sense of defeat whenever I see the children's artwork.
I look at every drawing wondering what was going through each child's mind and hope to bring myself closer to that mindset. This process involves a great deal of time since I look at each entry with care. But I know that it took the children tens or hundreds of times longer to complete the drawings. I imagine they were enjoying every minute of it.
I hope that entering into this contest leaves a lasting impression in the children's memory and puts them in the frame of mind so that they keep thinking about to whom the Earth belongs at every opportunity. I know from experience that you tend to remember quite well what you encountered as a child. Knowing that their drawing is traveling around the world to spread joy and emotionally affect many people will undoubtedly nourish their lives.
Nippon Association of Consumer Specialists