Compared to previous times, the works from African nations seemed to have become more colorful this year. There were works also drawn with colored pencils, crayons, and paint.
What is wonderful about children is that they seem to physically or intuitively understand the philosophy that people and nature are one. When an adult draws a landscape or portrait, each are drawn separately, but within this year's theme "We are sharing our beautiful Earth", many of the pieces asserted that people and nature are inseparable and nature will eventually be reflected back into the human body.
Take Mt. Fuji, a recurring motif for me, as an example. A river flowing from Mt. Fuji containing iron sand eventually flows into the sea. The iron sand is eaten by plankton, the plankton is eaten by shrimps and small fish, which are then eaten by big fish. The big fish are finally eaten by us, bringing in the iron sand into our bodies.
In order for either people or animals to be beautiful, nature must be beautiful. I learned that children intuitively capture this resonance of the two in their drawings.
There is water and there is the ocean. There are various animals and there is I. The children physically and intuitively know that reciprocal concepts including ourselves are not separate things, but they are all parts of one entity, and that nature is a treasure, but we people are also treasures.
When we become adults, we come to think of things separately. People are people, animals, nature, men and women, etc. They are all part of one, but by thinking of them separately, perhaps layers are gradually created.
Today, the day of the screening board, was a very hot day, but there were many passionate works that overcame the hot temperature. I hope to continue painting, so as not to be left behind by the children.
Chairman of the Judging Committee,
Painter / Emeritus Professor of Tokyo University of the Arts
I am honoured to be a part of the esteemed panel of the 18th International Environmental Children's Drawing Contest this year again. It's such a pleasure to know that over 17,000 drawings came from 96 countries, which means more children were interested in participating in this contest. We also received many drawings from children around the world who are affected by conflicts or large-scale disasters.
I was impressed by children's highly sensitive expression shown in all entries. Under this year's theme "We are sharing our beautiful Earth," children colourfully painted their entries to describe a coexistence between people and nature, instead of drawing a single target.
I believe children carefully looked at the environment around them and expressed what they really wanted to see in the world they live in their drawings. Through their drawings, we received the messages from children who would carry the future.
Human coexists with beautiful and rich nature - this is the earth which children wish to pass on to the next generation. And this wish goes beyond the borders and cultures. We are facing large scale challenges such as global warming, water pollution and air pollution. We will take this children's message seriously and make an effort to advance the rights of children in order to build a world fit for children.
Finally, I would like to thank all children who participated in this contest and do hope they continue cultivating and refining their sensitivity and inspiration.
UNICEF Tokyo Office
A relationship between nature, cities, and people that enriches each other from within
Empathy and compassion are the beginning of everything. The children's artwork entered in the contest expressed compassion for "We are sharing our beautiful Earth" in various ways.
This year, one highly rated piece from Taiwan had prominent features. Paris's Eiffel Tower, New York's Chrysler Building, the stone steps leading to one of Taiwan's historic shrines and temples, broad greenery covering the mountains, and flowers from familiar locations were all placed in the body of a bird as organic life-forms. As if operating each country or region, there were people rowing each of their boats, entirely supported by living things in nature - it brilliantly represents the nurturing of the relationship between nature, the city, and people that enriches each other from within.
Another noteworthy artwork was a piece from Japan showing children's sensitivity being fostered through original scenery of a memorable environment from childhood. The synthesis of area-wide expansion of beauty in a Chinese milk vetch field, the life residing in each flower's details, and the vigor of the living things playing there. Through the joy of direct contact with a comprehensive living environment, empathy for the global environment is further heightened.
I hope for this drawing contest's further continuation and advancement as a platform to expressing empathy for the lively relationship between living things, the environment, and people.
Architect / Chief Manager of NPO,
Troop for Nurturing Community Engawa
During this time, my heart is full of excitement as I look forward to seeing the children's artworks received from countries around the world. At the same time, it is always a struggle to find the right words to express how deeply moved I am by the many messages conveyed in the drawings. This time, the theme was "We are sharing our beautiful Earth". Treasure is alluring for anyone, and the children created exciting concepts from these words. The children's colorful world is festive, and it allowed me to realize that there are all sorts of treasures.
With the many pieces before me, I always imagine the children drawing them. I wonder in what kind of place, with what kind of people, with what kind of approach, and with what thoughts they drew. This year, there were entries from 96 countries and regions of the world. At the sight of a country name, I would refer to a world map and visualize the life in that country from the artwork, as if taking a trip around the world from where I sit. An environment where children can concentrate on drawing for hours is certainly a treasure. We must never forget that there are many children left unnoticed in the world who cannot even find the environment to draw.
I can hear voices from the children's drawings. An opportunity like this contest that draws out children's voices is precious. Having been involved in the screening, I am especially delighted that it received Global Warming Prevention Activity Award from the Ministry of the Environment at the end of last year, and I am deeply thankful to those from faraway worlds that entered the contest, and to the sponsor for providing this opportunity.
Nippon Association of Consumer Specialists