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 thirteenth contest, we received 13,214 entries from all over the world.
We will introduce 32 of these entries with the children's message through their paintings, which have been selected under strict criteria.
Mangrove forest are inhabited by various animals such as mudskipper, mangrove crab, egret and loris. In addition, the mangrove forest is also a line to prevent the washing of the sea as well. In my painting, my friend and I are helping to plant mangroves to provide their homes, food and a good weather. We have a great time, and we are proud of our efforts to protect the mangrove forests, I promise I will be environmentally friendly.
When we draw nature, we tend to feature the regular colors of trees and leaves, but this work presents it using extremely unique colors for attracting attention to the activities of the people in the background. It is an excellent work because of its truly unique sensibilities and distinctive concept. The work depicts intricate details, but it is balanced as a whole, and also the particular space catches our eyes, even from a distance. It is a profound work and sparks inspiration in many ways.
We should be diligent in preserving the environment and my painting was about giving a message to my friends to love the earth. In my painting someone is cleaning the earth and every person is doing something to make the planet happy.
It is quite interesting that the earth in the center is drawn beyond the common sense. The work is excellent to express that the earth has feelings and emotion just like us. The use of colors and techniques are also elaborate, and the touch and coloring give us a strong passion into the work. This work shows the message to try working on the global environment issues positively.
Nature and environment such as tree, river, wind, sky, and air are part of life. They are related. It is a contributing factor to life balance. So, nature and environment are very important to every life.
It is very interesting how trees and clouds are each depicted repeatedly in the same way. This repetition shows an energetic expression, and it makes the painter's thoughts and wishes on the painting more impressive. The foreground can be interpreted either as trees growing on a mountain or on a single tree trunk. The work encourages us to think about why the painter has drawn it in this way.
I have depicted two hands - human and natural. In the human hand there are people and garbage, and in the natural there are plants and animals. The human hand holds the universe, and the natural hand holds the sea. I drew this to show people that they can help make nature more sustainable by stopping polluting it.
At first glance, this work appears to show two hands are supporting the earth, but it also resembles two trees. It can be interpreted in different ways depending on who is looking at it, and it has a wondrous appeal. There is a contrast between the two hands that one hand features humans and garbage, while the other has the natural environment with insects, plants, and fish. The work expresses a message on how different these two groups are, despite the fact that they are all living things, and also a story that how animals in nature are working hard to cleanse the earth polluted by humans.
My painting depicts the shade from the trees, the shade from the buildings, referring to our world that grows and develops with nature still in tandem. People and animals sleep peacefully because they are happy, people have compassion to animals, love animals, love nature and live together without fear.
This work exactly depicts the concept of living in harmony with nature. The people and animals are lying down on the greenery with gentle expressions, and they all look truly comfortable. It expresses the message "coexisting with nature is a very happy thing" very well, and it makes our heart warm just looking at the work. It is finely depicted from the painter's eye how important it is for humans and animals to be in the same place and share enjoyment together, as well how wonderful it is to spend time together.
I like to make friends. You can be friends with boys or girls. And you can make friends with animals. I dream of making friends with a bear. It is not for nothing that animals are called our smaller brothers. Our friendship will be permanent and strong.
This work depicts a simple and direct message about being friends with nature. It is interesting that a human is cuddling close to a bear. We generally tend to draw more gentle animals, but it is extremely unique to see a human smiling and standing close to a bear that looks stronger than humans, and also the bear standing close to the human friendly. The background features an effective use of blue lines alongside subdued colors, and the sunlight is also drawn in orange, red and pink carefully. This work is highly vivid and expressive with an attractive and unique atmosphere.
The Earth does not just belong to people. This planet is also home to other animals, plants, fish and insects. In this picture, many different living things are supporting the shining Earth in harmony together. Environmental destruction is an issue in the present day, so I expressed my feelings in this picture that people need to think seriously about coexisting with many different living things.
The soft, light brush strokes and the delicate colors are extremely beautiful. The center of the painting resembles the earth, the sun, or perhaps a flower. Inside this, we can find many different colors and objects from nature like humans, animals and plants. At the same time, it is totally harmonized. The work expresses dreams and hopes for how things should be, and it simply depicts a bright future. This work seems to fit a phrase "return to nature."
The betrayal is upon ourselves, human beings, yet we feel displaced and threatened when we are the ones encroaching into the habitats of the other living things such as animals and displacing them. Our human activities have threatened many into potential extinction or already into extinction. Who is displacing who?
This work has a highly unique idea with animals inside the building and humans outside. This is an inversion of the regular relationship between humans and animals. Perhaps the humans may be displaced from their houses by the animals. They have an indescribable expression of a desire to return home. This is in fact what we humans are doing to animals, and the work ironically depicts the feelings of animals chased out of their homes. This work can serve as a starting point for thinking about the obvious, but highly important thing that the earth is not just for human beings.
I want to live in harmony with nature and therefore I created a roof garden to attract birds to cities and to make the cities greener and more animal friendly. I like animals and I think that people steal their natural environment by building bigger and bigger cities and roads and therefore people should provide a piece of green to them as a substitute for the stolen land. I think all animals in the world deserve to have a happy home like people.
Despite being a block print with a monochromatic and extremely simple presentation, it spontaneously drew our attention. The painter draws themself on this work, with a tree in the garden and house with windows. The work simply shows that the painter really enjoys such ordinary daily life. It conveys a desire to live closely and in harmony with nature.
This work brings us into the world a deer seeing. We can recognize and empathize with the deer is feeling comfortable. The work sends out the message that nature belongs to all living things.
The vivid orange color is impressive and has the impact. The spider drawn large in the foreground is attractive, and perspective is expressed well. The painting evokes an atmosphere by pure expression based on the painter's keen observation of elements in everyday life.
This work utilizes each individual color without mixing or blurring them. It expresses a message for the future, encouraging us to respect the individuality of each living thing while working to create the same world together.
The figure in the center appears to be the goddess of the earth modeled as rivers flowing down a mountain. The work brings us an excitement and the imagination when we wonder if the plants and fruits on the mountain grow and may become the goddess's hair ornaments.
This work guides us to take simple actions in our everyday life, such as to clean the space around them and water to trees. At the same time, it expresses the gratitude and joy of being able to spend a daily life as usual.
This work expresses the importance of water. The painter is from Japan, a country that is blessed with relatively clean water. It is remarkable that focusing on this theme indicates that the painter is turning eyes to the world and is thinking about the earth as a whole.
This quite humorous work shows the earth receiving care on a bench that looks like it is used for a nap. The work tells us to take care of the earth as something with emotions just like humans, and a desire for the earth to feel better.
The painter turns to the future and environment of the earth, and fully includes the environment itself into the painting. The work sends out a quiet, yet powerful message that we can overcome if we believe in hope and possibility.
It is generally difficult to depict nighttime scenes, however, this work expresses well the smell of trees and roasted marshmallows by the bonfire, and the cold night air under the moon. Expressions on the work are excellent, such as depicting of the darkness and people's face lightened by the bonfire.
This work has a unique composition with a child imagining the feelings of marine life. The painting seems to depict the child going into the sea and witnessing that single piece of light plastic piles up together, then they can lie on as a heavy problem.
A person unified with plants at the center appears with a slightly confused face. This work reminds us that humans are not special but are a member of the ecosystem just like other living things.
This work brings a tremendous power, almost breathtaking impact from the greenery. The painter's passion moves our heart that a person tries to plant more despite plentiful enough greenery. The small pink flower nearby a girl's foot serves as a good accent in the painting.
It seems showing the future that environmental issues in the earth get worse, and that a human goes to space for preserving species. The painter may convey a message that while space development is in progress, it would be better to allocate the technology and time more toward living things on the earth.
This work depicts a multi-layered world that is home for living things. The connections between each layer have been thought out carefully for the composition of the work. It resembles a mandala in some ways. The work is highly detailed, and it leaves a stronger impression the more we look at it.
At first glance, this work appears a pangolin parent and child, but on closer look, we can find human hands are surrounding various creatures in the center. It seems to appeal that the world is as one. This work shows brilliant descriptions with concentrating the painter's wishes on the painting.
The work has remarkable expressions. It makes us feel as if the clouds in the center of the work are moving, and we can almost hear the sound of them coming up rapidly. We sincerely wish for such a peaceful future.
This work depicts a scene with an imaginary machine sowing seeds to grow good plants. It is quite unique with the contrast between slightly futuristic ideas and a traditional artistic patten, as well as with the use of color for human and nature.
The traditional culture such as indigo dyeing of natural fibers is gradually being declined. Meanwhile, the painter expresses an important issue based on habits around them with hope for future environment and lifestyle that we can keep the indigo dyeing.
The bamboo forest is depicted in green and brown features a panda, a giraffe, an elephant, and other animals. An accent of color to the pieces brings an excellent sense. The work deftly expresses a desire for a lifestyle of respecting and livening in harmony with nature.
Black is a rare color for flower petals. This striking flower placed in the center of the work makes the painting highly impactful and interesting. It also conveys a message to take care of nature.
The color combination is impressive to contrast complementary green and blue based on pink tone. The painter has clearly paid attention to colors, composition, and other elements in a planned, systematic manner. The work directly expresses the painter's dream for a bright future.
There are still many issues in the world that cannot be solved immediately. Even so, the painter expresses an earnest wish that every living thing holds each other's hand and to build a peaceful world. It is remarkable to be expressed purely them as the painter's honest wish through the eyes of a child.
The painter draws thoughtfully balanced with powerful brushwork using warm colors for artificial objects and cool colors for nature. This work seems to be expressed by this selection of colors as an awareness of society and the earth. It conveys a message that we should turn our mind to that balance in the real world as well.
View "13th Contest (2022) Winning Works" here.
This year's painting contest marked the 13th time. We received 13,214 entries from all over the world (390 from Japan and 12,824 from overseas).
Kao's designers conducted the preliminary screening and then 402 entries were passed through to the final screening. In the screening, the juries emphasize "Sense of childlike viewpoint" and "How the local/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 seven juries involved in the fields of art and environment took a close look at each work carefully and were impressed by children's sincere wishes for the future and new perspectives.
The "eco together" Planet Earth Grand Prize (1) went to Woraphitcha Phuangprakhon (age 10) for "Help to plant mangroves". The juries commented that "the use of color is extremely inimitable never seen before" and "it's an excellent work with truly unique sensibilities and distinctive concept". The juries also selected 8 works for the "eco together" Kao Prize and 23 works for Eco Friend Prize (including 7 Jury's Special Prize).
Society had stalled with the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has started moving again. At once, we have faced to various crises in the time changing rapidly, and I believe that children have also felt confusion. Therefore, emotional support is the world where we feel comfortable after all, and I entirely felt a desire to go back to basics for striving to build such a world. And also, it is very interesting that there were many works that depicted insects this year, including those that were not selected for prizes. This indicates that the children have started to focus not just on plants and large animals, but also the micro-scale world of insects. I eagerly await to see what may come in the future.
When this contest began, many works focused on technical aspects more than personal thought on the painting. However, I feel that with every passing year, more children have expressed their desires for how they want the world to be through their works. This year, some children created works that portrayed peacefulness and contentment in their everyday lives, without making a flashy presentation. It was easy to enter myself into the worlds of those works. It is truly wonderful how the children continue to express the point that humans are ultimately a part of nature and that we need to think about just how much nature is giving to us. I would like to express my sincere respect for the children's efforts.
I felt it seemed that many works in this year approached the major challenge of environmental issues as an individual problem rather than facing it as a simply major challenge. Children took it such as "what am I feeling right now?" and "how can I make my and your surrounding happy?" Perhaps the children also have realized that the whole society has exhausted by working toward solutions for the major challenge. This contest was a good opportunity to give me the insight that society is ultimately a collection of individuals, and that there is significant meaning in each person taking on the small challenges around them immediately.
The children who submitted works to this contest have studied a lot about the environment, and they have a strong understanding of many different topics. In light of this, I feel that many works express messages based on the reality rather than simply expressing vague dreams about how they wish the world could be. I could receive a strong message that improving lives around us can make the whole world a better place. I would like to express my gratitude to all the children who submitted heartwarming works.
It has become commonplace for everyone to think and talk about environmental issues. While these issues have become global with uniform perspectives, patterns, and motifs, I feel strongly that the children in this contest are expressing their own ideas with great seriousness. Hopefully, the Kao project will become even more meaningful in helping people take the actions called for in the children's messages and respond with equal commitment.
This is my third year as a judge. I am impressed every time that children fully put and express their sensibilities and what they feel into their works. The theme for this year was the same as last year "Let's make our environment sustainable, together!", however, I think that children have expressed "being kind to human beings", "to living things" and "to the society" than just "being kind to the environment." I felt that we adults also need to seek for a world in which everyone can work toward a sustainable environment and thus a sustainable society.
I am grateful that the children sent us so many works despite the difficult situation worldwide. Adults tend to treat environmental issues as such a major challenge, so we sometimes may lose a sense that these are our own issues. However, children understand obviously that they are also part of the environment. Therefore, that is why we have received more works depicted everyday life and scenes right in front of the children's eyes. Many works express a clear message that protecting the environment is directly connected to protecting our own happiness and important things we have. It gave me an opportunity to think again about the meaning to take care of the environment.
The 13th Awards Ceremony was held online on December 11th, 2022. The winners of the 13th "eco together" - Planet Earth Grand Prix and "eco together" - Kao Prize participated in the ceremony from around the world.
Following the congratulatory message from Yoshihiro Hasebe, Kao President and CEO, Mr. Fumikazu Masuda, Chair of the Juries, gave a general remarks "We received many answers from children's paintings about what kind of life we should lead and what kind of society we should build in the future on this earth that has so many serious issues."
Each of the award winners made a speech in announcing the winning works, and shared thoughts and wishes on their works with all the participants. In addition, this time, all participants shared the desire to think together about one planet and its future through watching a short movie, which created by connecting videos received from the award winners and relevant parties.