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ART CONTEST ONLINE EXHIBITION

We are glad to have you here. Welcome to the online group exhibition of all the artworks that we submitted during the art contest titled ‘Being Positive In Times Of Difficulties”. What you are about to see, are artworks done by children below 15 years telling their stories of resilience, positivity as well as playfulness to depict how they have kept themselves positive in this time of adversity.  The participants in the contest came from 17 districts in Uganda, some from Nakivaale refugee settlement plus 1 from Canada and the other from the Philippines. Some of the children that participated came from some of the schools where we implement our mentorship programs while the majority were new to us. We hope that these works inspire you to be more optimistic.

Why the contest and why it was online?

COVID-19 has made it difficult for community-focused organizations like ours to physically continue to engage children and also enables them to learn together. We know for sure this is the same story to various organizations in Uganda. These are challenging times for any of us to provide full support to the beneficiaries of our programs. Unfortunately, it has been a difficult time for most people worldwide but it’s worse for the children since they are not in a position anymore to meet up with their peers, share their views freely. However, if we don’t reach out to some of these children, they will lose their hope for their future since they are undergoing a time with intense pressure, filled with negativity but yet, such time needs them to smile often, be appreciated and be creative with themselves. It’s upon that matter, therefore, that we put up the art contest to provide a platform for children to express themselves, give the world a glimpse into their lockdowns and above all, get rewarded for their amazing artworks because we need future artists and optimistic children for a better tomorrow.  Because we take the health of the children and that of our staffs as a top priority, we had to minimise possibilities of physical interactions to observe the guidelines for the Ministry of  Health and WHO therefore, this explains why everything about the art contest happened virtually. However, when it is safe for us to meet, we intend to organise a gathering for the participants and also conduct art sessions plus a free chocolate making class which will be conducted by one of ours.  

A side of the art contest, we have also reached out to children and their families with essential supplies (posho, cooking oil, soap, and sugar) so as to enable them have access to such important items in such a hard time. So far, we have reached out to 160 families and we hope that when we raise more resources, we can reach out to more families because the need still exists and actually its so huge by now.  If you have a kind heart, please DONATE via PAYPAL or MOBILE MONEY – +256 (0) 705859110 so that at the end of the pandemic, you will look back and remember how you can together to support those that needed your support the most.

QUICK SUMMARY

  • Number of artworks submitted: 119
  • Countries participated: 3 
  • Number of girls who participated: 46
  • Number of boys who participated: 31
  • Percentage of participants from primary level: 65%
  • Percentage of participants from secondary level: 32%
  • Percentage of participants out of school: 3%
  • Number of districts that took part: 17
  • Youngest artist: 3 years 
  • Common ages: 11, 13 and 14 
  • Number of judges: 5 plus 1 coordinator

Four pointers were considered in the judging process and these included:

  • Creativity and originality
  • Depiction of the contest’s theme.
  • Quality of artistic composition and overall design based on the theme.
  • Overall impression of the art.

 

The judging process

To select the winners, a diverse group of judges volunteered their time and on 26th June, they met virtually on zoom to determine the winners.  The judges included 1: Dr Timothy Amukele – an associate professor in the Department of Pathology at the Johns Hopkin School of medicine 2: Ruth Martinez – a Peace Corps volunteer and a graduate of International Affairs from Morningside College in Sioux City, 3: Yusuf Kiwanda – a practising lawyer based in San Francisco, California, an author and a causal visual artist, 4: Jason Neil – an experienced digital artist and an illustrator based in Calgary, Canada with a B.Des from Alberta College of Art and Design, 5: Winifred Ikilai – an activist for Persons living with HIV, and AVAC fellow 2020 – Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention and there we all were coordinated by Sarah Keith Namara – a talent manager, mentor and programs officer at Mark Mutungi foundation. However, due to factors beyond control, two other judges didn’t join for the zoom meeting but supported the process virtually.

 

Our Observations 

  • Less representation of parents in the artworks that the children came up with – this painted a picture that somehow parents are missing in action in the process of keeping their children positive during the time of adversity.
  • Many participants lacked art materials and some who had had leverage over those who didn’t have – this shows that there is a need to fundraise for art supplies and donate them to these children to encourage them more to engage in art related activities during this time of adversity.  Make a donation to support this cause in any way.
  • Several artworks with related themes and subject matter were submitted – this showed that feelings are mutual no matter the age, level of education, and cultural background.
  • The time allowance was a bit small; this created a bit of pressure and also rushing for children to submit their works – this was told by the incomplete artworks some participants submitted and also complaints from the parents of some of the children – we promise to give more time in the other contests to come. 
  • We witnessed that some children might have been helped out in the sketching of the artworks while others had traced the images they painted – this gave them no chance to compete for the prizes.
  • We witnessed creative title children gave their artworks these included but not limited to “Hope in despair”, “Safe Haven”  – which appeared twice from different children, “Happy Children”, “Be smart be safe, wash your hands”, “ We shall overcome”, “Stay home, wash hands stay safe”, “Wear masks”, “Thank you for observing the measures” – all these increased to raise awareness about COVID-19 and our hope is that agencies such as UNICEF, Save The Children, Plan International and Ministry of Health, could give some of these children a chance to use their artworks to join other avenues to raise awareness about this deadly pandemic since these artworks will communicate direct to their fellow peers. 

 Recommendations

  • The entire process of executing the contest relied mostly on parents who saw the poster, interested their children to take part, critiqued their children before submitting  – we hope this spirit continues even after this contest since we saw it availing a platform for children to receive first-hand support and encouragement from their parents in regards to art which is never seen as a career that children might take and underlooked against other talents such as football, board games among others.
  • The children asked if we could organize a bigger exhibition for them in an art gallery and also make a publication for this artworks, they said that this would be important for them as they grow up as artists – but again, we can’t do this all alone, please get in touch if you feel this is something your heart can beat for. We were also amazed by the descriptions some children gave about their artworks, which was quite inspiring.

Much appreciation goes to all the partners who made the art contest possible; these include NakivArt, Streetlights Uganda, Nile Girls Forum, No White Saviors, Moonbean chocolate, Pixan Inc, Pixart Media – Nairobi, Reminac TV, Horizon International School, Faces Up Store which facilitated the funds to are going to be awarded to the winners.

Thank you so much for checking out this exhibition (special thanks for those of you who have supported this cause in any way). Here are other ways you can still be involved; 

  • Invite your friends to check out the exhibition too – we believe they will be amazed by these masterpieces 
  • If you want to buy any of the artworks, take a screenshot of it and send us an EMAIL  – together with the parents of the child, we will arrange and make it available for you on printed coloured copy.
  • Please consider making a DONATION to our work and enable us continue providing such platforms to children for free so they can be inspired to do what inspires them.
  • Checkout the OTHER WORK we do with children.
  • Send any of the children a MESSAGE of solidarity or appreciation to let them know that you appreciate this artworks. 

THE ARTWORKS

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