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 first place in the 22nd International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment, run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Entries are now being sought for the 23rd competition, which will be themed around the issue of food waste. UNEP, in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organization, is running a campaign called Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint to cut the estimated one-third of all food lost or wasted every year.
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 gifted children from 110 countries. All of the young artists painted under the theme of Water: Where Does it Come From? in support of the 2013 UN International 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 next generation".
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 Earth award 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 at showing 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), Juan Diaz (Colombia), Ephraim Finapri (Nigeria), Nattamon Ninkham (Thailand), and Yevheniia Zakharchuk (Ukraine).
Joint 3rd, 4th and 5th prize winners received diplomas.
Theme for the 23rd International Children's Painting Competition is "Food Waste"
"We chose the theme of the 22nd painting competition to underline that water does not come from taps or even plastic bottles bought at the supermarket-it is generated by nature and supplied by forests and wetlands to rivers and lakes," said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. "These budding young artists showed that they not only understand the crucial role of natural systems in providing this most fundamental 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 entries from 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," said Dr. Michael Preuss, head of Corporate Policy and Media Relations at Bayer. "The winning picture expresses the expectations of the younger generation and is an 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, Secretary General of FGPE. "Children's artworks fantastically show how precious water supports all life on the planet and keeps communities healthy. We hope that the selected 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 in this competition had the chance to realize the importance of water for all creatures, and its sources," said Mr. Hideo Yamazaki, Manager, Social Contribution Section, CSR Department, Nikon Corporation. "This year in particular, I found it remarkable that the winners come from diverse regions such as Asia, Africa and Europe."
"We look forward to the 23rd competition and how children will take up the challenge of depicting the irrationality of a world where one in seven 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.
23rd International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment
About the Competition
The International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment is organized every year by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Japan-based Foundation for Global Peace and Environment (FGPE), Bayer and Nikon Corporation. It has been held since 1991 and has received more than 3 million entries from children in over 150 countries.
Theme: Food Waste
Sub-theme: Save the Planet - Save Food, Wasting Food is Wasting the Planet
The organizers are inviting children all over the world to submit their paintings to the UNEP office in their regions. Addresses of these offices are indicated on the back page . The children will have until 15 March 2014.
Download PDF Brochure with Full Information - http://unep.org/tunza/children/documents/23rd%20Painting%20competition.pdf