The Finalists Ceremony of the International Children’s Drawing Contest “Draw Me Peace” was held in Paris at the French National Assembly, in Bourbon Palace, on the 5th of May, 2017. This ceremony, which is the culmination of a large-scale project in the support of Peace, has become possible thanks to the support of the French deputy Mr. Thierry Mariani.
The project “Draw Me Peace”, initiated in 2015 by a Russian-French socio-cultural association “Club de Chance, celebrated its third anniversary this year. From the very beginning, the number of countries-participants supporting this contest was growing so fast that from 4 participating countries in 2015 it went up to 30 countries in 2017! This year, due to the increasing popularity of the competition and the large number of drawings received, it was decided to create a website specifically designed for the contest www.drawmepeace.com. Thus, all participants from different countries had the opportunity to register online and to upload their drawings directly to the site for further selection by the jury.
The competition site received over 2000 drawings in 4 categories:
= Children from 4 to 7 years
= Children from 8 to 12 years old
= Adolescents between the ages of 13 and 16
= Disabled children from 8 to 12 years old
According to the terms of the competition, the organizers accepted no more than 50 works from each country and the semi-finals were organized in Russia and in Georgia – the countries with the largest number of participants. Out of 2000 drawings, 1000 came from Russia and 450 from Georgia where 50 semi-finalists were selected for the final international selection by a national jury. The international jury, consisting of representatives from the sphere of art, selected the best works in each category.
Selecting only 50 finalists from over 2000 drawings was a very difficult task! Each drawing represented Peace seen by the eyes of a child and showed not only how unique each child is, but also its inimitable view of the world and his drawing that reflects it. Nevertheless, all the works had a common leitmotif: all children long for Peace and want to live in Harmony.
The jury members of the third edition of the contest were:
= Jean-Michel Verger (France) – President of the jury, art collector, gallery owner
= Irina Bellaye (France, Estonia) – coordinator of the jury, painter, sculptor, photographer
= Claude Moscalenko (France) – artist
= Francis Mbella (France, Cameroon) – artist
= Silviu Popescu (France, Romania) – project manager at the Romanian Cultural Center in France
In their presentations, all the jury members agreed that the task of selecting the best drawings was incredibly difficult, since practically all of them showed the great talent of each participant. Throughout the complex selection process, 52 best drawings have been chosen. During the Awards Ceremony, an exhibition of finalists’ drawings was demonstrated and catalogues with reproductions of the best works were distributed to the winners including those, who could not attend the Ceremony in Paris, through their representatives. Each finalist will receive a catalogue where he can see his work.
Following that, during the travelling exhibition, the finalists’ drawings will be shown in many countries as a world Peace symbol. This exhibition will be shown in different prestigious places such as international organizations, embassies, city halls, galleries, libraries, schools, etc. in order to remind to us, the adults, such basic values of life as Peace, Solidarity, Friendship and Mutual Aid.
During her speech, Ms. Helen Kibaro, the Honored Ambassador of Peace to UNESCO, once again underlined the importance of human values being a core of this project. Ms. Kibaro, who dedicated her work to the cause of Peace between the countries, is an old friend of the association “Club de Chance” and supports many of its projects. Her song “A Hymn to Peace” has become the symbol of this Ceremony.
After the speech of Mrs. Tatyana Baldyuk, the President of Club de Chance, who made the presentation of the association, its history, goals and charitable projects, the microphone was passed on to Mrs. Marina Montuazi, the Vice-President of the association, who told us about the contest “Draw me Peace “since the beginning of its creation in 2015. Then the audience could see the presentation, made up of numerous drawings of the participants from 30 countries. The competition managers drew their special attention to the young participants from Cuba who were particularly warmly applauded by the audience.
There was a special reason for such a warm welcome: the inhabitants of Cuba are practically deprived of an access to the internet, and Cuban children could not get registered on the website and to upload their work online in order to participate in the contest. So, they sent their drawings by mail and, thanks to the work of the “Club de Chance” volunteers, who scanned these works, Cuban children were also able to take part in the International Competition.
Among the children who were fortunate enough to attend the Award Ceremony in Paris, there were 2 finalists from Georgia: Xatiya Gambarashvili and Tatiya Karkashadze (3rd age category); winners from Russia: Xenia Kravchenko (3rd age category) and Anastasia Kosterina (disabled children of 8 to 12 years old); finalists from France and Belarus: Liv Barel and Maria Ivanova, as well as Artem Timoshkov, who came from Belgium (all the three of the 2nd age category). Each of the finalists present at the Ceremony walked out on the stage to receive the laureate medal, an honorary diploma, an exhibition catalogue and a gift provided by the partners of the event.
The winner from Russia, Xenia Kravchenko, came to the Ceremony with her mother and her younger brother from the city of Essentuki, where the Russian branch office of “Club de Chance” is located. Xenia and her mother were pleased to have this opportunity to pass over the presents from their Russian colleagues in Essentuki to the main office of Club de Chance in Paris and its managers. It was a painting depicting the dove of Peace with a book on behalf of Russian Cossacks. A small speech in French was made by the young participant, Anastasia Kosterina, and it caused lots of emotions in the audience. Later on, the little girl shared her little secret with us: in fact, she did not speak French at all, but asked a French teacher to help her write a speech and to train her to pronounce it, so that Anastasia could say it in public at the Ceremony in Paris. The hearts of all the French-speaking guests present at the event were deeply touched by her little speech.
Also, the guests were shown a video message of Maxim Likho, a finalist from the village of Borisovka, Belgorod region, who dreamed of coming to the Award Ceremony but, unfortunately, could not come to Paris. In his video Maxim addressed the audience in English, and his speech was very heart-touching as well.
This day, at the Ceremony, there were also two other special guests present – they were children not included into the finalists category, but whose works were noticed: Anastasia Balter, a participant from France (8 to 12 years old category) and Boris Sidiani, a participant from Georgia (disabled children from 8 to 12 years old). Their drawings, remarked by the jury, will participate in the future travelling exhibition together with the finalists’ drawings!
This third edition of the contest “Draw Me Peace” unified a world of the like-minded people and could be fully realized only thanks to the tremendous work done by many volunteers from different countries who worked tirelessly for months on the realization of this projet. We all wish a long and successful life to this wonderful project!
We invite all of you to join the child’s vision of the world and to learn to see the world through their eyes, the world yearning for Peace, full of Good.
1. Ivanova Mariya, Vitebsk, Belarus
2. The organizers, members of the jury Guy @ Felix / Felix Guy
3. The winners of Georgia and President of the Association Tatiana Baldyuk @ Feliks Gay / Felix Guy
4. The winner of the city Dzherzhinsk, Russia – Anastasiya Kosterina, his mother, organizers @ Feliks Gay / Felix Guy
5. The final photo @ Feliks Gay / Felix Guy