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Youth for Human Rights International announces winners of International Peace Day Art Contest, launches virtual gallery

"The Chickens’ Fight" – First Place, Adult category winner, O Yemi Tubi (Moyat), Nigeria/UK

“War or Peace?” themed art contest highlights the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with 78 international artists selected for its virtual gallery.

Artists can often express concepts such as human rights in an art form which brings these rights more vividly to the beholder.”
— Azhar Haq, President of Youth for Human Rights, DC Chapter

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, September 29, 2022 / -- Youth for Human Rights International’s Washington, DC, chapter proudly announced the winners of its second International Peace Day Art Contest this week and launched a virtual gallery to display the winners and top entries.

The contest asked artists to address the question: “War or Peace?” It was answered with a wide range of emotions, contexts and themes. Each contestant was required to relate their work to one or more of the 30 rights in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This year’s winners come from a large pool of international contestants from the US, Europe, Africa and Asia - 13 countries in all.

Many creative and thought provoking submissions were received from a range of talented artists in a number of media, including visual arts as well as poetry. The final selection for the International Peace Day Art Exhibit came down to 91 pieces of art from 78 artists.

This year’s contest was co-sponsored by Youth for Human Rights International, Artists for a Better World and Art Impact International.

Preliminary to entering the contest, all entrants viewed short educational videos on the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR was created after the atrocities of World War II and is one of the foundational documents of the United Nations. The artwork was judged on both its artistic content and human rights theme.

The First and Second Place Winners in the contest’s two categories were:

In the Adult Category (Over 18):

Mr. O Yemi Tubi (Moyat) from Nigeria with a piece called “The Chickens’ Fight” that uses rich colors and wit to artfully represent the posturing of countries with nuclear capabilities dancing around a boxing ring. The artist comments that “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Social Security and Fair and Free world -- are under threat as the so-called world superpowers treat our world with their nuclear arsenals. Iraq was destroyed, Libya was destroyed, and Syria and Ukraine cities are being destroyed. The dream of the artist of this painting is that there will be no more war. That nations will no longer rise up against each other to war and that the weapons of war will be turned into agricultural equipment.”

Mr. William (Bill) Jones from the US earned second place with “Diaspora” depicting a confederate flag and images of discrimination painted on the back of an African American man. The inspiration for this piece was the Charlestown church shooting on June 17, 2015, when nine African Americans were killed during a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church, raising the question of whether the Civil War is truly over for all.

In the Youth Category (Under 18):

Zachlewis Maravilla, 17, from the Philippines and US, won the youth category with a poem entitled “The Peace Within,” expressing wisdom beyond his years. This piece hopes to spread a message of positivity and peace to the world, for though darkness may reside within, so does the light of peace.

Miruk Kim and Muni Kim, twin brothers, 15, from Czech Republic (Czechia) tied for second place in the youth category with digital photos of their own life experiences: “Our guests must be served” depicts two young boys sharing food on the ground at a makeshift place setting, which still includes real dishes. The photo “Human Rights are a Universal Quality” depicts two hands, one facing up and one down, with henna drawings symbolizing that human rights have the same value in war and peace. The brothers took their art from their own experiences in North Africa and India.

In this contest, first and second place winners are awarded small cash prizes and winning certificates, and are featured in the online gallery and art catalog where their pieces can be purchased.

Mr. Azhar Haq, president of Youth for Human Rights International’s DC chapter, said, “Artists can often express concepts such as human rights in an art form which brings these rights more vividly to the beholder. We want to encourage artists to keep working for peace through their art.”

Much of the original artwork can be purchased through the online gallery hosted by Art Impact International, and many of the artists offer prints of their artwork on paper, metal or plastic for display. A catalog of the artwork includes detailed information on each artist as well as the inspiration behind each piece of art submitted to the contest.

In honor of the completion of the contest, Youth for Human Rights International’s DC chapter held an event at the Founding Church of Scientology, just blocks from the White House, to virtually display the gallery to Washington residents. A virtual event with a number of the artists will be held online in October, and the gallery will be available online until December 31st.

The Youth for Human Rights International Peace Day Art Contest is based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as the global standard of human rights. The UDHR is a tool to bring sanity, respect for human life, and rights to an area. This year’s virtual “War or Peace?” gallery is available to all as a free online virtual gallery which will remain up throughout the rest of 2022. Next year’s theme will be based on the 75th Anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

About Youth for Human Rights:

Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to inspire them to become valuable advocates for tolerance and peace. YHRI advocates for human rights both in the classroom and in nontraditional educational settings such as through art series, concerts and other interactive community events, including regional and international human rights summits which bring youth together from across whole sectors of the world. Their most recent campaigns have included #KnowYour30 with the deliberate purpose of increasing awareness of the 30 human rights every person has - and how they are a part of everyday life.

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