Young Thai Wins UNEP Global Art and Environment Competition
Nairobi, 30 July 2013 -13-year-old Chiratchaya Kaeokamkong's painting of a child playing with fish, turtles and unicorns in a world awash with water and vegetation has won firstplace in the 22nd International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment, run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The work by Ms. Kaeokamkong, who is from Thailand, edged out almost 700,000 entries-a ten per cent increase on the number of entrants in 2012-by giftedchildren from 110 countries. All of the young artists painted under the theme of Water: Where Does it Come From? in support of the 2013 UNInternational Year of Water Co-operation.
Ms. Kaeokamkong said she wanted her painting to show that "water is a very important resource, which we should conserve and keep clean for the nextgeneration".
She won the top prize of US$2,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the award ceremony, which takes place alongside UNEP's Champions of the Earthaward in New York in September.
14-year-old Wesley Gong from the US was runner-up. His painting of a lake and the many species depending on it facing threats from industry was aimed atshowing how pollution threatens the water that we all need to maintain life.
Mr. Gong will receive US$1,000 and a trip to the award ceremony, along with six regional winners, who are: Jessica Qiu (US), Tina Doumit (Lebanon), JuanDiaz (Colombia), Ephraim Finapri (Nigeria), Nattamon Ninkham (Thailand), and Yevheniia Zakharchuk (Ukraine).
Joint 3rd, 4th and 5th prize winners will all receive diplomas.
"We chose the theme of the 22nd painting competition to underline that water does not come from taps or even plastic bottles bought at thesupermarket-it is generated by nature and supplied by forests and wetlands to rivers and lakes," said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP ExecutiveDirector Achim Steiner. "These budding young artists showed that they not only understand the crucial role of natural systems in providing this mostfundamental of resources, but the impacts on humans and wildlife when we damage and degrade our water-generating environment in the name of progress."
The International Children's Painting Competition is UNEP's flagship art and environment event. Since 1991, it has received more than three million entriesfrom children in over 190 countries. The competition is organized in partnership with the Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE),Bayer and the Nikon Corporation.
"It's impressive to see the children's level of awareness of the global water issue and how they use their imagination to express this in pictures," saidDr. Michael Preuss, head of Corporate Policy and Media Relations at Bayer. "The winning picture expresses the expectations of the younger generation and isan appeal to everyone to actively support the conservation of water."
"The global winners created supreme expressions with imaginative ideas, creative compositions and plenty of color schemes," Ms. Tomoko Yano, SecretaryGeneral of FGPE. "Children's artworks fantastically show how precious water supports all life on the planet and keeps communities healthy. We hope that theselected artworks can widely enhance public awareness in the UN International Year of Water Cooperation."
"It was a pleasure to see so many wonderful paintings submitted from over 100 countries worldwide. I am sure that all of the children who participated inthis competition had the chance to realize the importance of water for all creatures, and its sources," said Mr. Hideo Yamazaki, Manager, SocialContribution Section, CSR Department, Nikon Corporation. "This year in particular, I found it remarkable that the winners come from diverse regions such asAsia, Africa and Europe."
Entries are now being sought for the 23rd competition, which will be themed around the issue of food waste. UNEP, in conjunction with the Foodand Agriculture Organization, is running a campaign called Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint to cut the estimated one-third of all food lostor wasted every year.
"We look forward to the 23rd competition and how children will take up the challenge of depicting the irrationality of a world where one inseven go hungry, while globally we waste and lose at least one third of all the food produced," said Mr. Steiner.
Young people between 6 and 14 years are eligible to enter the competition. Full details are available at: http://unep.org/tunza/children/documents/23rd%20Painting%20competition.pdf
Notes to Editors:
A gallery of the winning paintings is available at: http://unep.org/tunza/children/22ndcompetition.aspx
For more information on Think.Eat.Save, visit http://www.thinkeatsave.org/
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