10 May 2016 – The winning artists in an international competition to commemorate the very first United Nations General Assembly resolution, which established the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction, are advocating for a world free of nuclear weapons. The first and last time these weapons were used was decades before the artists were born.
“Young people did not create nuclear weapons, but it may be their task to eliminate them once and for all,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the award ceremony on 3 May at the UN Headquarters in New York.
“At a time of many global needs, it is important that young people are aware of the threat posed by nuclear weapons, and the vital importance of disarmament,” he stressed, adding that he was pleased to see at the number of young people represented in the competition.
The Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA) and partners launched the UN Poster for Peace contest to raise awareness of the need for nuclear disarmament by inspiring citizens globally to use their artistic talents to promote a world free of nuclear weapons.
It commemorates the anniversary of a resolution adopted in 1946 establishing a Commission to deal with problems related to the discovery of atomic energy.
Three winners and nine honorable mentions were chosen from among more than 4,100 entries representing 123 countries.
First prize winner Ivan Ciro Palomino Huamani flew in from Lima, Peru, to accept the accolades for his “Spinning Peace.” It features a nuclear weapon being unraveled into string which is then used to fly kites and balloons, and to jump rope.
The 38-year-old said he wanted his image to motivate people “to conscientiously think of how we can save our planet. After all it is our home, it is where we live. ”
Second place winner, Michelle Li, began her quest to better the world at age five. The now 15-year-old said she started creating art that ranged in focus from global warming to world peace. Her poster, “Peace in our Hands” features a shadow puppet of a peace dove above a broken nuclear weapon.
The winner of the third place, Anjali Chandrashekar, entitled her work “Cutting Barriers through Peace.” It features a peace dove slicing through a nuclear weapon. The 22-year-old was only 10 when she founded “Picture It,” a non-governmental organization that uses imagery to raise awareness and funds for various health, humanitarian and environmental causes.
“Nuclear disarmament is usually spoken about on such a high level and I believe that art has the power to humanize some of the most pressing issues that the world faces today,” she told the UN News Centre. “It also transcends barriers of age, language and literacy so I thought this was a great opportunity for me to show that a brush can be mightier than arms.”
The awards night included remarks by actor Michael Douglas, who is a UN Messenger of Peace helping to focus worldwide attention on the work of the United Nations. He told the audience that “creativity is essential” to create momentum for nuclear disarmament.
All of the winning artwork will be used to support the United Nations message on the importance of disarmament and will be presented in various platforms including exhibits, banners, postcards and calendars, according to a senior official of the UN Department of Public Information, John Ennis.
The contest was organized in partnership with the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly, the UN Foundation, the World Federation of the UN and UN Academic Impact.