The UN refugee agency has organized its first art competition, the Youth with Refugees Art Contest. The contest was aimed at young designers from all over the world and inspired by the theme "everyone counts in the fight against the virus, including refugees."
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, this week announced the winners of the Youth with Refugees Art Contest. More than 2,000 participants from 100 countries submitted drawings and comic strips. One in four participants were themselves refugees or asylum seekers, the UN agency said in a statement.
Launched in April 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the contest urged young people aged 12 to 25 to reflect on the theme: "everyone counts in the fight against the virus, including refugees." The seven winning drawings were turned into animations by Japanese studio Speed Inc.
The UNHCR also said that it is awarding five regional prizes, five prizes for cartoons as well as 20 special mentions. The list of winners, alongside their testimonies and artwork, can be found here
Creativity for a good cause
"As countries went into COVID-19 lockdown, young people asked us how to help UNHCR while staying at home," Pauline Eluère, who leads the initiative for UNHCR, said in a statement released by the agency.
"We launched the contest to inspire them to use their creativity for a good cause. And we figured that a great way to bring their messages to life would be to animate some of their artwork."
All winners are receiving a box of pencils from Caran d'Ache, a Swiss art supplies company and a partner of UNHCR for the art contest, the agency said.
Participants shared messages of solidarity
Alongside their drawings, the participants shared messages of solidarity. "This quarantine has taught me to be more grateful for everything I have," said Ivanna, 16, from Peru, a regional winner of the contest.
"I think many of us complain because we are locked up or we miss our friends but we don't think about others. Let us remember that we are not the only ones in the world and must support each other."
Nesime, a 16-year-old Aghan refugee girl who was one of the global winners of the contest said: "it is true that the coronavirus is now a part of our lives, but we should not be worried. We should fight together to defeat the coronavirus. I now live in Greece. People have an image of me in their minds, but I am who I am."