Press releases

Tuesday 07 Oct 2008

Children Artists Join Forces with the UN to Combat Climate Change

New York/Nairobi – Paint for the Planet Exhibit and Auction Comes to New York on 23 October.
Young artists from around the world are lending their support to global efforts to combat climate change through Paint for the Planet, an exhibit and auction of children’s art in New York.

Launched today, the Paint for the Planet website features a selection of stand-out entries from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Children’s Painting Competition.

Showcasing children’s fears and hopes for the planet, the paintings are a powerful plea from children for leadership on climate change before it is too late.

Paint for the Planet will be the launch pad for the ‘UNite to Combat Climate Change’ campaign to support the call for a definitive agreement at the climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009.

Five young artists from Burundi, Colombia, Malta and the United States will come to New York for the event to share their message for the planet with decision makers, corporate leaders and the media.

They will officially open the exhibit at UN Headquarters in New York on 23 October. This is the first time the original artwork – chosen from a collection of nearly 200,000 paintings – has ever been displayed.

On 25 October, a selection of paintings will be auctioned at the Harvard Club of New York City to raise emergency funds for children affected by climate-related disasters. The proceeds will be donated to UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.

In addition to the live auction, the art will also be sold online on eBay.com in partnership with LiveAuctioneers to enable people around the world to participate. Pre-bidding for the auctioned paintings will also shortly be available on eBay, www.liveauctioneers.com  and www.unep.org/paint4planet.

After New York, the exhibit will travel to various climate-related events and meetings around the world, culminating in Copenhagen.

The curatorial partner for Paint for the Planet is the Natural World Museum (NWM), which presents art through innovative programs to inspire and engage the public in environmental awareness and action.

Paint for the Planet is made possible through the generous support of Bayer, Nikon and the Foundation for Global Peace and Environment, which have been UNEP’s key partners for the International Children’s Painting Competition and other children and youth initiatives for many years.

Notes to editors:

Media are invited to both the exhibit and the auction. There will be opportunities for interviews with the young artists as well as with Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of UNEP.

Paint for the Planet – Important dates:

- Exhibit opening and press conference on 23 October, 12.30–2 p.m. at the Main Lobby of United Nations Headquarters in New York. The exhibition, running from 23 October to 18 November, will be open to the public.

- VIP reception and auction on 25 October, 7–9 p.m. at the Harvard Club, New York. An online auction will be organized in conjunction with the live auction. Media are invited to the Harvard Club to cover the event.

About the art and the artists:

Maltese student Andrew Bartolo is a keen environmentalist and Scout. He says: “I have painted a scene that, though slightly extreme, gives an insight into a possible future, one where animals lose their homes and are forced to migrate to unfamiliar territories.”

Katherine Liu is a fifth grade student at Foothill School, Saratoga, California, USA. She says: “If everyone did their part in preventing global warming, we might be able to stop climate change.” Katherine does hers by recycling, turning off lights whenever she leaves a room, and taking short showers to save water.

Gabrielle Medovoy is an honour student in Springman Middle School, Glenview, IL, USA. Through her painting of penguins on the move she asks “Where are they going? That will be the question when there is no decent place for the penguins to live.”

Fourteen-year-old Daniela Melendez goes to Colegio Hacienda Los Alcaparros in Bogotá, Colombia. She explains: “In my painting I was showing today’s reality, that we TOGETHER are doing it, together we can work it out. We know it’s not who, what or where we are, but what we do that counts.”

Guy Jayce Nindorera from Burundi says that his painting was inspired by the situation in his country but also by reading various articles around the world “where people are dying of hunger and other catastrophes such as the Tsunami, floods and deserts, due to human actions. As a result human beings become victims of their own interventions.”

For more information, visit www.unep.org/paint4planet  or contact:

Lucy Jasmin, Head of Special Events, at lucita.jasmin@unep.org  or tel +254 20 762 3401; mobile: +254 713 601 244

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson/Head of Media, on Tel: +254-20 7623084; Mobile in Kenya +254 (0) 733 632755; Mobile when travelling +41 79 596 57 37, or E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org 

Anne-France White, UNEP Associate Information Officer, on Tel: +254 (0)20 762 3088; Mobile in Kenya: +254 (0)728 600 494, or E-mail: anne-france.white@unep.org

Tuesday 07 Oct 2008
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