14th Contest (2023)

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 fourteenth contest, we received 15,916 entries from all over the world.
We will introduce 32 winning works 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:

“Buuat Pa” - The Buddhist ritual to conserve forest
Kodchapan Malisorn (14)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

My painting represents the religious beliefs of people that contribute to environmental conservation. “Buuat Pa” is Buddhist ritual that aims to build forest conservation awareness through Buddhist beliefs. Because of the faith in the religion, people believe that saving the forests by not destroying them and growing trees is another way to conserve the watershed’s forests sustainably.

Comment by the juries

The symmetric composition with a large tree in the center and the expression of sense of depth of the tree are excellent. The gradation of sky blue and the contrast with the smaller painted humans surrounding the large tree express the special existence of the tree. We felt a strong message that people have cherished trees for a long time and will continue to do so in the future. We hope that this painting will provide an opportunity for people to turn their eyes on a desire to interact with nature which humans have in the bottom of heart.

“eco together” - Kao Prize:

Butterflies in the Sky
Chien-jou Lin (12)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

Every living thing becomes a beautiful butterfly. A butterfly clasped by human hands will die and disappear, but if we take our hands off and plant flower seeds to create a flower garden for the butterflies, they will be free, happy, and beautifully soaring in the sky forever.

Comment by the juries

If you look closely at the wings of each butterfly, you will see fish and flowers depicted, as if each and every life of nature is represented in the butterfly. It is wonderful that the work symbolically conveys the importance of butterflies, which are so fragile that they can be crushed in human hands, and that they can fly in the sky by protecting nature.

Plant a forest
Kanyaphon Kaentao (10)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

Nature is beautiful with the cooperation of everyone participating in promoting sustainability in nature and the importance of living things.

Comment by the juries

The painting depicts children planting trees and the shadowy, alternative view of the world that is projected onto the scene. One can sense the upward thinking of the children as they look up at the trees with smiles on their faces. Also the composition and use of color are unique, which can be clearly seen from a distance.

Bath the Tapirs together
Lai Chean Loo (10)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

My friends and I are bathing the Malaysian tapir. They are our national animal. We should keep them safe and clean.

Comment by the juries

The scene of the children washing the Malaysian tapir expresses the coexistence between people and living things in nature. This one scene reminds us of the story before and after, and we can imagine the relationship between the animals and the children. It is an enjoyable work that will inspire conversation with children when they look at this picture together and talk about it.

Melek Gunerova (9)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

I love animals so much. I want to become a veterinarian. I love dogs, cats, cows, rabbits, horses very much. My father is a vet and I want to work with him and treat sick animals. I wish to make a shelter for stray animals.

Comment by the juries

While many of the works depicted animals, we were interested in the fact that this work was depicted from an animal’s point of view. The horse’s gaze toward humans is fresh and leaves a strong impression. We tend to think that the world as humans see it is the environment, but this is just one way of looking at it. This painting conveys in a significant way that how animals see this world is what is important.

The fragile Earth that we must protect
Nagisa Ichihara (11)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

I believe that the Earth that we live on is fragile like a soap bubble. I want to keep it beautiful and help it continue in the future, without breaking it. Animals want this too. For this reason, I think that we humans must use our collective wisdom together to protect the Earth, so that the Earth, nature, and animals can all live together.

Comment by the juries

By repeatedly depicting the same motifs, the artist creates a rhythm throughout the painting, and it attracts the viewer. What the world should do is represented by hands and animals of various skin colors from around the world, without depicting the earth or people. A soap bubble in which everyone’s thoughts are entrusted is drawn on the palm of each person, giving the work an unprecedented view of the world.

Clean Water
Olexandra Sergijivna Palii (11)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

Clean water. We live on a beautiful planet that has many rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans. We must keep the water clean for our lives and the lives of the many creatures that live in and around the water.

Comment by the juries

This is an interesting work that honestly depicts dragonflies, which only fly where there is clean water, under the theme of “Conserve Water.” The distribution of colors—cold for the dragonflies and warm for the giraffes—reveals a rich sense of color, and the balance between the dragonflies and the animals that coexist with them is also excellent.

Planting trees for the future
Titaree Kaensontea (9)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

Trees are plans that create the ecosystem of our planet and makes the air refreshing and a plentiful of water. But now there are fewer trees left, so my family and I joined together to help plant trees to create a perfect natural environment for the future of our children and animals so they will have a place to live.

Comment by the juries

At a glance, it is clear that the picture depicts everyone planting trees together. It is interesting that the children share the image of the future in which these trees have grown and are depicted as tree shapes and shadows spreading over the grass. This work shows us that through the years, this relationship with trees has been firmly rooted in our lives.

The World of the Future
Zoey Huang (7)

Thoughts and wishes regarding the painting

In the future, if you want to live there, you will be free to choose any place, no matter how high it is, and you will be able to live there safely.

Comment by the juries

The warm colors and various animals and buildings brightly depict the future, and the color scheme and composition are ingenious. The many stories existing in a single painting are intricately woven together to create one large positive worldview. It is also characterized by a sense of storytelling.

Eco Friend Prize/Jury’s Special Prize

Chair of Juries Fumikazu Masuda Selected

Ilian Stoicov (11)

Comment by the jury

This is a curious work in which two people seem to be disguised as cows with cloths over their heads. The background also brings up the image of a cage, and the confused look shows that the situation is not happy. The interpretation of this enigmatic painting, including the relationship between the cows and the humans, seems to be left to the viewer.

Jury Sumiko Okubo Selected

Lotus Fragrance
Jin Zhe (6)

Comment by the jury

The colors of the leaves are varied with only shades of green even though few colors are used, and pink is used as a point of interest against the cold background. The tadpoles swimming in the background and the changing colors of the water give the work a rhythmic and descriptive feel.

Jury Kei Matsushita Selected

Let’s make a sustainable harvest in my garden
Pinidu Bimsara Siriwardana Siribaddana Arachchige (6)

Comment by the jury

This work expresses the fact that the world is one by combining various elements, both negative and positive, on one screen. It is interesting that it is like a Sri Lankan curry with many different items on one plate.

Jury Yoko Oyamada Selected

Rebuild The Ice
Christabella Winna Gozali (15)

Comment by the jury

This work contains the artist’s own thoughts and ideas about global warming. We hope that this painting will help people learn about the existence of scientists who are addressing the problem of melting ice in the Arctic and Antarctic, and their attempts to use technology to restore and regenerate them.

Jury Andreas Schneider Selected

Tirtha Kanchan Chheda (9)

Comment by the jury

The work depicts the own experience on a trip to the Vaitarna River, where the painter and friends planted trees to grow the forest and enrich nature. It contains a strong message about the children’s sense of responsibility for environmental issues. The way trees and water mix, becoming one, reflects a profound sense of connectedness.

Jury Yasunori Hosokawa Selected

Cleaning up the penguins
Valentin Camano (10)

Comment by the jury

This work depicts the environmental problem of the melting of Antarctic ice due to global warming, which is reducing the places for penguins to live. I received a message to live kindly because the work seemed to be working on the penguins who were shedding tears, and it struck my heart.

Jury Naoto Katahira Selected

Madeleine Louisa Tongku (8)

Comment by the jury

The artist straightforwardly expresses the reduction of plastic, saying that vegetables and fish are blessings of nature, so they should be packaged in natural materials rather than plastic. Each food is drawn with looking tasty, and the work as a whole has a very strong touch.

Eco Friend Prize:

Denuji Duranga Madampagama (12)

Comment by the juries

A magical tree is depicted by the artist’s imagination, but it is as lifelike as if it were real. The more we look at the work, the more we appreciate, with the white outlines and the spongy coloring of the leaves.

Let’s all protect the environment!
Ha Duc Lam (13)

Comment by the juries

Adults and children work together hand in hand to pick up trash-like objects floating in the river. The humans and the river are all drawn in curved lines, and the colors of light and shadow are well expressed rhythmically, making the work very joyful in its movement.

Kang Tey Seng (13)

Comment by the juries

It depicts the nature that is close to the artist’s heart, a rice field in the countryside, and skillfully captures a memorable scene from an ordinary daily life of an ordinary person. The depiction of light shining through the scene is outstanding in that it evokes a sense of hope for the future.

My Modern, Industrial city - impression
Karolina Staniszewska (10)

Comment by the juries

The black border around the picture makes it feel like the opening scene of a movie and attracts the viewer's attention. The black-and-white areas, such as the moon and birds, as well as the colored flowers, are also interesting to look at. It makes us think that the work looks different depending on the angle from which we look at it.

Let’s Protect the Environment and Sow Green Seeds
Lin Xiangzhou (10)

Comment by the juries

Instead of using perspective to express the depth of the trees, the artist has chosen to depict the trees in such a way that they do not overlap, so that each tree appears to have a sense of life and stand on its own. However, when viewed from a distance, the work appears to be one world.

Our little Brothers - impression
Martyna Ornoch (14)

Comment by the juries

It is a very enigmatic work, but if you look at it carefully, you will see only eyes in various organisms. The fact that the artist describes unidentifiable creatures as their “brothers” is very interesting, and the work is both philosophical and fascinating.

Friends gathering around a tree with sweet sap
Masaaki Saiki (6)

Comment by the juries

I wonder if the artist saw the insects gathering there We wonder if it was the first time during summer vacation for the artist to spread honey on a tree and to see the insects gathering around it. Very impressed scene is depicted freely. This joy is well expressed with a simple touch, reminding me of my own childhood.

Memories of Bicycles
Ng Chin Tung (6)

Comment by the juries

This work conveys the message of riding bicycles instead of cars. The originality of this work is that it depicts a scene as seen from a bicycle, without clearly outlining the scene. The artist honestly expresses the sense of happiness conveyed by a life filled with bicycles that emit no exhaust gas.

Sustainable environment
Niki Kajkolahi (9)

Comment by the juries

The work is painted with a bright touch, taking only the most vibrant colors from the palette and smashing them into the painting without using muddy colors. Each small sense of blessing is gathered and overflows from the entire painting and is conveyed to us.

Environmental Protection
Panatda Seejandaeng (15)

Comment by the juries

It is as if several paintings are combined in the work although it is a single painting. Despite the black and white, the use of fine lines depicting the richness of nature and the expression of the story are excellent.

Lotus Field
Phairin Thitapura (10)

Comment by the juries

The lotus leaves and the human hat are drawn in a similar circle, as if the human were blending into nature. The artist’s approach to the environment is expressed in the fact of trying to express the environment in a way that incorporates the human being, rather than having the environment around the human being.

The tree in big city
Suthatcha Chumaiat (9)

Comment by the juries

It expresses the idea that in a big city with many different things, it is important to help and coexist with each other in order to take care of trees and greenery. The work is painted in a variety of colors and is eye-catching.

A Family Effort for the Environment
Tanushree Jiteshbhai Bhatt (13)

Comment by the juries

Many customers gather at a store where recycling and remaking is a family affair. From the real daily life, the artist suggests things that could be done immediately in any country to solve environmental problems. It is a work that makes us want to emulate this kind of lifestyle.

Truong Quynh Huong (15)

Comment by the juries

The coloring is unique, like a classical oil painting. The artist’s gaze is very low, perhaps painted from the perspective of the bird in the foreground. The way that the environment is seen with the animal’s eyes is unique, and there are many things to make aware of.

An environmentally conscious family
Wan Yu Xi (11)

Comment by the juries

At first glance, there seems to be a separation between the human parent and child and the natural world outside, bordered by a door, but it appears that they are trying to open the door to talk and understand about nature. It is a powerful work that seeks to deepen our understanding of the environment.

Yang Zong Lin (10)

Comment by the juries

Birds and fish are painted in a beautiful green world centered on mangroves. The work is a model of the kind of nature that we should strive for. The artist message, “Through this painting, I want to help make the environment more sustainable” attracts us.

View “14th Contest (2023) Winning Works” here.

Preliminary and Final Screenings

This year’s painting contest marked the 14th time. We received 15,916 entries from all over the world (798 from Japan and 15 ,118 from overseas).
Kao’s designers conducted the preliminary screening and then about 200 entries were passed through to the final screening.
The judges focused on whether the work depicted wishes and ideas for the environment, and was expressed from a child’s perspective, based on the theme “Let’s make our environment sustainable, together!”
The works evaluated like “The life of the community comes into view,” and “The strong message in the painting is conveyed clearly” passed the preliminary screening.
During the final screening, the seven juries involved in the fields of art and environment took a close look at each work carefully and selected 32 works with full of diversity that honestly expressed the children’s intentions for the future.

The “eco together” Planet Earth Grand Prize (1) went to Kodchapan Malisorn (age 14) for “Buuat Pa - The Buddhist ritual to conserve forest”. The juries commented, “The contrast between the large tree and the small human figure expresses the special nature of trees” and “It conveyed a strong message that people have cherished trees for a long time and will continue to do so into the future”.
They also selected 8 works for the “eco together” Kao Prize and 23 works for Eco Friend Prize (including 7 Jury’s Special Prize).

General remarks by the juries

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

When this contest was first launched, the approach was to find a familiar problem and work together to bring wisdom and technology to solve it. However, it became clear that this was not enough to keep up with the rapidly advancing environmental problems, and the theme of the contest was changed to “sustainable environment.” Since then, the perspective of the children has changed dramatically about what kind of world they live in and want to live in. Many of the works collected this year also clearly expressed the children's desire to live in this way. The fact that these paintings kept coming out one after another gave me a sense of the direction of the future that children dream of, and also convinced me that the future is bright.

Ms. Sumiko Okubo

Compared to previous contests, entries of this year were more spontaneous, capturing the subject of the painting in a straightforward manner, rather than being obsessed with the theme and thinking theoretically about it. I think that the honest emotions expressed in the paintings have increased the sense of color, rhythm, and power of the works. The children’s paintings reflected that the COVID-19 has settled down and the world is moving in a positive direction, and they were full of generous works expressing the joy and fun coming from familiar things and the desire to paint their dreaming world. I could see that there are many talented children who will surely become great painters and who could become artists in the future, which is a bright sign for the future.

Mr. Kei Matsushita
Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts

We realized once again that this contest is moving into the right direction. The impression of this year’s contest was quite different from the previous ones, and many of the paintings made me feel that the children were generally proficient, perhaps because they have become relatively accustomed to drawing. I assume that this is the result of the children themselves translating what they honestly felt into works in response to the theme, “ Let’s make our environment sustainable, together!” What I expect from the children is not how they understand every issue, but how they feel about it. I hope that they will continue to value that part of the process going forward.

Ms. Yoko Oyamada
Artist, Illustrator

I would like to express my gratitude for the many truly wonderful paintings from all over the world that we received again this year. We found out that many paintings concretely depicted children’s thoughts about what they should do with adults to improve the environment, or of what they are actually doing for the environment. Many powerful messages have been received, and this year in particular it seems to be the beginning of a year after overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, and children can fully express the heart and energy that had been blocked in the past. We sincerely hope that as many people as possible will see the children’s paintings and that their powerful message will reach people around the world through their paintings.

Mr. Andreas Schneider

Many of the works had a high technical level, and some had textures so precisely crafted that they seemed almost mechanical. It was often difficult to determine whether the children drew what they really wanted, or they were advised by adults. This got me thinking about the extent to which adults intervene in children’s worlds and whether they are really protecting children’s original worldview and senses. I wonder if we adults properly respect the trust that children have in the world. Meanwhile, it is nice to be reminded of such questions by many submitted paintings. I hope exhibiting the artworks around the world will inspire people to think about the power of children’s genuine trust and authenticity.

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

I am often inspired by the children’s paintings, and I learn a great deal from them each time. In the past, many of the works depicted current issues related to the global environment, but gradually, I have the impression that in more and more paintings children are showing their own hopes for the future they want and the world they want to live in. I was also moved by the gentleness that the children had in each drawing. Through the children’s paintings, I was reminded that we too must be considerate to the earth and strive for a warm and compassionate society.

Mr. Naoto Katahira
Vice President, Creative, Kao Corporation

So many wonderful works were gathered as same as before. On the other hand, all the excellent works couldn’t be picked up, due to the limited number of awards in this contest. Every year, the messages contained in the paintings are getting increasingly stronger, and at the same time, the level of drawing ability and expression seems to be getting more sophisticated in equal measure. And when the paintings are viewed side by side, no two are the same, and each piece is full of diversity. The richness of these children’s imaginations gave us adults a renewed sense that we have much to learn from them.

Awards Ceremony

The 14th Awards Ceremony was held online on Sunday, December 17th, 2023. The winners of the “eco together” - Planet Earth Grand Prix and “eco together” - Kao Prize participated from all over Asia and Europe. Mr. Fumikazu Masuda, Chair of the Juries, Yoshihiro Hasebe, Kao President and CEO, and David J. Muenz, Director and Managing Executive Officer, joined the ceremony from Tokyo, where Kao’s head office is located.

During the presentation of the award-winning works, each of winners spoke about their thoughts and wishes on their paintings, and the three presenters in Tokyo conveyed the messages to the children. Mr. Masuda commented, “Everyone’s painting fully expresses their feelings of care and respect for trees and other living things. The winning works taught me many things,” and “It is wonderful that the bright hope for the future is depicted in the paintings”.

In addition, all participants watched a short movie created by compiling videos received in advance from the winners and relevant parties in each country into one movie and shared their thoughts about the planet and its future, as well as their desire to continue to think about the environment together.

The award winners of the 14th contest participating in the ceremony

Venue at Kao headquarters

Speech by Ms. Kodchapan Malisorn , Planet Earth Grand Prix winner

Sharing the desire to think together about our future

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