Pupils advocate peace through art

BULAWAYO - The Lions Clubs International District 412 has engaged young pupils in an art contest that seeks to encourage pupils around the world to come up with artworks that advocate for peace.

More than four million children from nearly 100 countries have in the last 25 years taken part in the annual event dubbed the International Peace Poster Contest.

This year’s theme is “Image peace”.

As part of the competition pupils between the ages of 11 and 13 are required to submit their works for the annual competition at the National Gallery in Bulawayo.

Each pupil is asked to submit one original painting whose focus will be strictly on the subject of peace.

Before qualifying for the largely enrolled competition, pupils undergo a series of art workshops for the private and government schools at the National Art Gallery in Bulawayo in a bid to impart basic skills of art.

“The paintings are currently going through several judging levels before the final winner is determined.
At local level only five judges adjudicate all paintings by the pupils. At this level one grand
winner and two runners-up are selected alongside with several merit winners,” Ruth van Rensburg the organiser of the Lions Club of Matopos said.

“After that entries will also go through a multiple districts which will also include participants from other southern African countries,” said van Rensburg a school teacher.

“It is only after we had gone through the rigorous process that the winner will get to the international level of the competition. The winning poster progresses to the international stage where one grand prize winner and 23 merit winners will be capped,” she said.

Judges consider three components from each piece which is artistic merit, expression of the theme and originality.

Local judges composed of seasoned artists include Brian Kumira, John Nathan, Belinda Marshal, Khumbulani Ndlovu and Jannice Everett.

In a bid to instil confidence in the young artists and have teachers and parents see what their children are capable of, an official opening for at least 70 artistic pieces will be on display at the National Gallery in Bulawayo this Saturday.

The exhibition which is set to run from October 27 to November 30 will put on display every painting the pupils did.

Van Rensburg said the main idea behind the contest was to spread the word of peace across continents.

“As a matter of fact it is our mandate to spread the subject of peace across the globe hence our different annual themes advocating for peace in the world. Besides we also endeavour in encouraging young children to see art as a way of expressing themselves."

“We realised that the emphasis is too much on sport and it actually leaves out the child who is not into sport. In fact it is one way of promoting arts across the globe,” said Van Rensburg.

While the competition which is still expanding in Zimbabwe is still running in Bulawayo alone since its launch by the minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart in 2010 only seven
schools are taking part.

These include Sobukazi High, Ngwalongwalo Junior, Inzwananzi Junior, Entumbane High, Masotsha High, Falcon College, Petra High, Petra Junior and Convent High.

The Peace Poster Contest was created in 1988 to give young people the opportunity to creatively express their feelings for world peace and to share their visions with the world.

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