12th Contest (2021)

The Kao Group has held this contest annually since 2010, in the hope that paintings and thoughts expressed by children around the world, on their sincere consideration of the environmental conservation around them, the earth and its future, will inspire people across the globe and lead to take action for changing lifestyles.

For this twelfth contest, we received 7,009 entries from all over the world. Despite of COVID-19 pandemic, many works from around the world reached to us.

We will introduce 32 of these entries with the children’s message through their paintings, which have been selected under strict criteria.

Presentation of the winning works

“eco together” - Planet Earth Grand Prix:

Friendship between man and animal and nature
Selen Arami(7)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

The forest is the home of animals. No one should bother the animals and we should be friends with them and help them.
I love all animals and I like giraffes more, so I drew this painting to show the children that we should help the animals. In this painting, I went into the forest with my mother and there I saw a giraffe that his leg was injured. The giraffe’s friends were upset that their friend’s leg had been injured. I bandaged her leg with the tools I had and Giraffe and I became friends.

Comment by the juries

The people are looking after an injured giraffe together and the painting is filled her thoughtfulness and adoration for nature. Overall, the painting looks shiny, embodying her strong wish for an ideal world and her hopes for the future. Giraffes are peeking through the trees, and it makes us realize that she is seeing plants and animals as equal creatures. Meanwhile, the giraffes’ faces look as if they are keeping a certain distance from the humans, perhaps suggesting that nature and animals are testing humans to see if we are on their side. The dotted style fills the work with rhythm and joy.

“eco together” - Kao Prize:

Angel of Nature
Fatemeh Abiri(10)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

You know how much more polluted the air is when we are in a car than when we are on a bus. Or how long does it take for our gum to decompose when we drop it on the floor?
In this painting, I wanted to remove all the pollution and return the lost beauties of nature to nature by the angel I loved.

Comment by the juries

There is a moment just before sunset when the landscape is enveloped in a golden shine. The painting reminds us that there are beautiful moment and happiness in our ordinary life, which we are common to forget as we keep busy. The painting warms our heart as beautiful nature and the scene we stare at and it makes us wish that the happy scene in this painting will last forever. The sensitivity is outstanding, catching and cherishing this moment, and wanting to draw it as well as the power of expressions that makes us viewers to feel the birds chirping, the car revving, and even a whiff of the air in town.

I love forest. I love animals. I love earth.
Kanticha Thangsri(10)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

We need to take care of the environment with love. I love forest. I love animals. And, I want everyone in the world to love It too. If we love animals and forest, That make we don’t want to destroy it. We will live with nature to be happy and sustainably.

Comment by the juries

While many entries feature scenes of nature observed from the city side, appealing how they adopt the beauty of nature, this entry features a scene of the city from the nature side. Changes in thinking and how to focus on viewpoint is quite unique. The city is not impassive but somehow oozes warmness that gives us a new feeling, when it’s seen from this angle, it shows that cities are not too bad. We also received a message that we must create an environment for cities that enables us to live in harmony with nature and animals.

Green Paradise
Le Lu(6)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

I drew trees, giraffes, and lions because I love animals and the earth! We need lots of trees so that there is a comfortable home for animals and that the Earth’s environment will be even more wonderful.

Comment by the juries

The trees are branching naturally, so we were impressed with her observation. The leaves are randomly painted with a dot-like touch, letting the animal peek through the leaves to express the flow of the wind and the rhythm of the vibrantly swaying leaves, which is excellent. There are no humans directly placed in the painting, but it tells us that we, as observers, are also part of nature. She draws the world seen through her eye as a child, not the world adults want to create.

Let’s praise for the continuation of life
Lui Ho Yin(14)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

The children hear cicadas chirping and enjoy singing along with them. When a cicada’s life ends, it returns to the ground and becomes nutrients for plants. The children are so grateful that this helps the life of all living things continue. The whole humankind must protect the world’s environment together and avoid causing damage to it so that the lives of different living things on the Earth can continue forever.

Comment by the juries

The work is themed on “life and death.” The word sustainable is usually translated as the ability to sustain, but it originally means a continuous cycle. Sustainable means the continuous cycle of life and death, passing life onto the next generation, and this painting captures it magnificently. It is also drawn the dead cicada provides nutrients to plants, connecting all living creatures. The painting is a great work with depth that casts a spotlight on short-lived cicadas, mourning their deaths, and expressing gratitude at the same time to the cicadas for having lived their life.

Save the world with our hands
Rinrada Singhsathitsuk(7)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

That the environment will be sustainable, it is not just someone’s duty but it is our “COLLABORATION” to conserve forest, create nature, and reduce pollution emission.
To sustainably live, whether the environment will be sustainable or not, it is in all our hand.

Comment by the juries

In so many environmental issues such as forest fires and gas emissions, the painting is pleading for us to protect our verdantly beautiful planet. The earth is made of handprints, directly communicating that “if we join hands and come together, we can make a beautiful world”. The painting features various painting styles that are balanced. The overall colors and tones are also beautiful, achieving a pronounced level of perfection.

The Five Elements of Nature
Snehal Sudhir Dane(13)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

According to ancient Indian scriptures five elements of nature (Panchmahatatva) namely, earth, water, fire, sky and wind, are responsible for the creations, survival and sustainability.
For the betterment of future generations, we must protect this ancient sage with careful management, and this is the only way for the sustainability of life on the planet earth.
In my drawing, the Banyan tree (longest surviving plant) represents living life on earth and the ladies shown are the tree’s five elements of nature, which are protecting the tree and praying to god for sustainability.

Comment by the juries

The beautiful color contrast instantly captured our attention. Despite the complex color coordination, the colors of the background, tree and clothes are positioned with no hesitation and highlighting outstanding sense. The imposing composition is attracted when we look at it from afar, while boldness and sensitiveness are well-balanced with extremely detailed touches when we look at it from up to close. “Earth, water, fire, sky, and wind”, the five elements of nature from ancient India is protecting life, and it shows there is a hint for how to be sustainable.

My house is in the tree branches and roots
Syifa Azka Asilah Siregar(7)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

From the tree, branches and roots will grow an environmentally friendly generation. I present my work through a group activity in which I read together with my best friend. Our story is immortalized in eco-friendly activities. Come on, be diligent in reading!

Comment by the juries

Children are gathering at the top of the tree and each one is looking at own tablet. A very unique work including a mixture of “online and offline,” and “nature and technology”. Instead of denying technology, the painting shows a possibility through the child’s point of view that nature and technology can exist together. This work features rich expressions and an approach that is different from others.

Hug me gently
Yang Yiran(10)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

People and nature are in a close relationship that cannot be expressed in words. Humanity needs to be kind to nature so that the natural world can survive. If we do this, then we can enjoy the blessings of nature. As the economy develops rapidly in the modern age, what we need to do is to be in harmony with the environment, not just to protect it. If people can be in harmony with nature, then they can create a wonderful tomorrow. This picture expresses to everyone that we need to treat nature carefully as nature is essential for us to survive.

Comment by the juries

Is the girl caringly holding the animals the painter herself? The painting tells that she loves and wants to respect nature, and it also shows the wonderfulness and preciousness of living in harmony with animals and nature. Concrete buildings and beautiful nature are uniquely placed on the girl’s hair like a collage, they also emphasize how nature is merging with city. The color arrangement of the light-colored flowers in the background and the use of green are also beautiful.

Eco Friend Prize/Jury’s Special Prize

Chair of Jury Fumikazu Masuda Selected

A Beautiful Forest
Cian O’Rourke(6)

Comment by the jury

Animals stand out from the beautiful green background, and it creates depth in the painting. The split composition with drawn tree vertically and horizontally is interesting, and it highlight the child’s taste. It makes us hope the painter will never lose this sensitivity.

Jury Sumiko Okubo Selected

Penguins Looking for Fish to Eat
Qian-Yu Lai(6)

Comment by the jury

The painting features animals including birds, sea otters and fishes. I put much values on that it is drawn what the painter just feels without any common rule. Also it is beautiful to use colors of the sky and iceberg and drawing stars.

Jury Kei Matsushita Selected

Kian Jamshidpoor(10)

Comment by the jury

A very persuasive work with a straight-forward message from the painter. It features an advanced technique, with the tree fruit and leaves drawn in primary colors yet creating one entire world.

Jury Yoko Oyamada Selected

Hafiza Naura Salsabilla(12)

Comment by the jury

The vibrant face of the sea turtle made of plastic bottles and smiling children give us hopes for the future. The painting seems not only merely seeing marine waste as an issue but taking a step ahead in suggesting environmental solutions.

Jury Yasunori Hosokawa Selected

Protecting Our Earth Colony
Brennan Edric Tjong(7)

Comment by the jury

The painting tells us hopes for the ideal future clearly. It is highlighted the painter’s sharp perspective using the theme of this contest as “ants” that they are working hard together and making action to prepare for the future.

Jury Naoto Katahira Selected

Green Riding
Liu Zhenyi(10)

Comment by the jury

The painting directly shows that bicycles are an environment-friendly and fun vehicle. As the face is not included, we can cast ourselves in the painting and receive the message that we should take ownership of the issue.

Eco Friend Prize:

Cheerful colors with a healthy environment smiling
Aqila Dewi Salsabila(7)

Comment by the juries

The upper part of the painting shows ideas for improving the global environment with faces and hands all around. It sends out a strong message that we will bring together ideas and do something together.

The rubbish is home.
Bacon Tien(6)

Comment by the juries

The plastic waste issue is turned into a beautiful design, but the painting shows that the painter as a child clearly sees it as an issue. The use of red as an accent color to bring out the large blue part shows wonderful artistic sense.

Eaten Up by Garbage
Chen Yan Wei(9)

Comment by the juries

The painting boldly tells us that when we pollute the environment, it will come back to us. The essence of the issue is suitably featured in the painting, and it makes us face reality much more acutely than words ever can express.

One island, One life
Chien-Chun Lin(7)

Comment by the juries

The composition of the painting is unique that animals hiding behind the tress are looking at us and that branches spreading out from the center tree fill the whole canvas. It highlights freely the world-view special to a child.

Let’s make our environment Sustainable, together
Herath Mudiyanselage Losandu Minhas Fernando(6)

Comment by the juries

It features a unique idea of the apartment complex of the world, and it shows the painter’s keen skills of observation and suggestion. It is superb for balanced placement of motifs filling the space and the shading on humans and animals.

A Beautiful World
Marika Inoguchi(13)

Comment by the juries

Four seasons in Japan are drawn with respect, and the painting tells us that the painter wants to express Japanese touch and the beauty of Japan. It is interesting that each season is drawn in different ways. The use of various techniques highlights the painter’s excellent skills.

Save the Eco-system!
Menghe Zhao(9)

Comment by the juries

The painting is appealing the seriousness of the plastic waste issue by using a plastic bottle like the Gulliver in Gulliver’s Travel. Meanwhile, the Lilliputians look positive rather than negative so that the issue can be resolved if everyone puts their power together.

Let’s grow together
Monwaree Jariyapitaksakul(9)

Comment by the juries

A girl looking like a heroine is holding the earth, and it shows a strong will “I protect our earth!” Unique use of insect faces for the earth’s eyes and the fish for the earth’s mouth.

beauty in a glass jar
Prakaichat Tornsee(11)

Comment by the juries

The painting is a story that every life has been born from the ocean and evolved, and humans have been creating civilizations. A mythical and wonder atmosphere are skillfully presented.

A tree of wonder
Rena Yoshizumi(7)

Comment by the juries

The painter sees nature as one unity and captures it boldly with breaking the common knowledge that melons and watermelons do not grow on the same tree. It also tells a message directly that we should cherish water.

Dazzling Nature
Ririna Kabata(10)

Comment by the juries

Air and water are vital for plants and nature. This preciousness is expressed well with the water in the center and the rainbow upside. The scene around the water looks joyful, and we feel hopes.

Return to the truth & back to basic
Seow Sin Thor(9)

Comment by the juries

The painting shows a cycle of seeds’ life. There is something impressionist about this painting by brushwork to express unviewable things like the flow and the atmosphere of the wind. The unique colors and composition also have a mystic attraction.

Sharvi Santosh Sharma(14)

Comment by the juries

The painting shows a scene of seedlings taking over for three generations and sends a message that we must preserve nature through the generations. Drawing of humans and the frame is unique and attractive.

Sherly Vermont Kwerni(15)

Comment by the juries

The painting has a unique expression that a lump of waste is going to eat fishes. It describes the situation very well that marine debris keep increasing and fishes are facing a risk. The painting is drawn to every detail.

A Tree House That is Kind to the Environment
Song Jinning(9)

Comment by the juries

The painter observes with own viewpoint and digests the scenery as own story. It depends on each one to take what the story tells. The work is inspiring and exciting.

Teoh Qian Ya(7)

Comment by the juries

The beautiful and ideal world for the painter is abstracted well and expressed, then it gives us a message with fun. The painting is attractive with many colors placed in perfect balance.

A New Shoot
Yuna Fujikawa(14)

Comment by the juries

The painter is zooming in on a tiny event which is a plant sprouting. The hopeful moment of the seed coming into life is quietly presented in light colors. The painting awakens us to the fact that the world could be viewed from such a humble perspective.

View “12th Contest (2021) Winning Works” here.

Final selection screening

This year’s painting contest marked the 12th time. Since the start of the contest in 2010, we have had the theme “Together, we are eco-friendly”. In recent years, however, the word “sustainable” which has broader concept has penetrated in people as a keyword for considering environmental issues, due to the growing awareness of the SDGs, and has permeated the world.
Therefore, from this year, we changed the theme to “Let’s make our environment sustainable* , together!” with the hope that children will challenge their creativity while thinking more broadly about the environment and future of the earth.

For this year, the very first time after the theme change, we received 7,009 entries from all over the world (689 from Japan and 6,320 from overseas).
Kao’s designers reviewed all the entries in the beginning and then 393 made it to the final selection screening of these.

In judging, the judges emphasize “Sense of childlike viewpoint” and “how the country/region specific living conditions are reflected”, in addition to the criteria such as “Direct communication of hopes and ideas for improving the global environment” and “Conveyance of fresh perspective on global environmental issues”.

During the final screening, the six judges involved in the fields of art and environment took a close look at each work carefully and were impressed by children’s pure hearts and new perspectives.
There were times when amazed at the deep understanding and thoughtfulness of the children to see how the changes in the theme were well reflected in their works.

The “eco together” Planet Earth Grand Prize (1) was awarded to a 7-year-old artist living in Iran. The judges commented that the work “depicts hope for the future in a cheerful and childlike way” and conveys the joy of drawing. The judges also selected 8 works for the “eco together” Kao Prize and 23 works for Eco Friend Prize (including 6 Jury’s Special Prize).

  • * A sustainable environment stays healthy for many, many years into the future. It is a world where all animals and plants live together in harmony without fear.

Scene from the final selection screening

Scene from the final selection screening

General remarks by the juries

Mr. Fumikazu Masuda
Chair of Jury
Design Consultant,President, open house inc.

For this twelfth contest, the theme had been changed from “Eco together” to “Let’s make our environment sustainable, together!” The theme is exactly featured in the entries, showing the children’s incredible ability to understand as well as their sensitivities. It is partly to do with the new theme and the changing times, but the children’s awareness on environmental issues seems to have stepped up from “collecting and sorting waste.” The children taught us that we as judges and sponsors should also take our awareness a step further.

Ms. Sumiko Okubo

The new theme gave all the entries a different impression. I was also impressed realizing that children think much deeper than we think. We had a hard time on screening as some of the world-views, messages and thoughts from the children’s perspectives were difficult to grab. Perhaps children have a better understanding of the new theme and are a step ahead of us. We must learn more so that we can keep up with children. I sincerely hope this contest, having risen to another level, will continue into the future.

Mr. Kei Matsushita
Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts

The contest was a delight, with many entries showing inspiration and ideas that adults can never produce. Children from various regions must be depicting what they see in their community, yet it was quite a surprise to see from the entries in all regions that the understanding about the environment has further deepened. The entries also strongly express what the children really yearn for as well as their hopes for the future. Every year the entries give us so many discoveries, and this year we learned more than previous years.

Ms. Yoko Oyamada
Artist, Illustrator

The entries made me feel that be it environmental issues or any other issues affecting the earth, resolving them takes the involvement of all countries and regions, without leaving any of them out. This year national and regional characters seemed more pronounced than past years. There were many entries from which it was not hard to imagine how the children were painting, putting all their minds into their work to show positive messages brightly. Seeing children’s unique ideas for the future was a wonderful learning opportunity. I would like to convey gratitude to all the people who supported the children in completing their wonderful paintings.

Mr. Yasunori Hosokawa
Director, Kao Eco-Lab Museum, Kao Corporation

Children’s pure hearts were vividly expressed in every entry, and they were all heart-warming. This year many entries presented a bright future. It is reassuring to see that the future in the children’s minds is full of hope, despite there being many environmental issues, and certainly not all is good news. Each of us also needs to receive the children’s messages earnestly to make a bright future a reality. We can work on environmental issues together and create together a world that is friendly to both the planet and humans.

Mr. Naoto Katahira
Vice President, Creative, Kao Corporation

I am so grateful that so many children from around the world sent in their entries, despite COVID-19 causing shipping delays, raising a concern that the entries may not reach us. In recent years many entries pursued meticulous technique, but this year I saw many entries expressing children’s spontaneous feelings and thoughts. While the world is still in a state of confusion, children sent us messages full of hope for the future, which is a wonderful gift of energy and courage. I would like to compliment the children for their hard work.

Awards Ceremony

Due to the overseas travel restrictions on the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards ceremony was held online on March 27, 2022, rather than in Tokyo as originally planned. It was held jointly with the 11th award ceremony, which had been cancelled the previous year. 8 of the 9 winners of the 12th “eco together” - Planet Earth Grand Prix and “eco together” - Kao Prize participated from around the world, along with the 11th winners.
Following the congratulatory message from Yoshihiro Hasebe, Kao President and CEO, Mr. Fumikazu Masuda, Chair of the juries, commented “Based on the changes in the entries from the previous year, we changed the theme to the broader concept of sustainability, and everyone’s entries responded exactly. Many paintings with full of hope and fun were gathered this year.”
After the introduction of the award-winning works, each of the award winners made a speech and shared the feelings about their works with all the participants. The participants applauded each other, and had heartwarming exchanges.

The award winners of the 11th and 12th contest participating in the ceremony

Venue at Kao headquarters

Speech by Ms. Selen Arami, Planet Earth Grand Prix winner

Message from President Hasebe to the award winners (Photo of Ms. Snehal Sudhir Dane, Kao Prize)

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