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Little Artists for Peace – Peace Pals International – Cuiabá, Brazil

When I heard about the Annual Peace Pals International Art Exhibition and Awards project I immediately thought of the many children in Brazil, my native country, and in England where I live, which I would like to invite to this wonderful initiative. We cannot be neutral in the face of the great need for peace in the world and this would be a great opportunity for children not only to participate in a contest but to get in touch with the PEACE theme.

Then, after getting in touch with the project, I planned to gather “Little Artists for Peace”. That would be the name of my work groups and I started my contribution with this significant project, which has Art as an ally.

As I had planned a trip to Brazil, I saw the opportunity to work with children from the school Escola Municipal de Educação Básica Maria Tomich Monteiro da Silva (EMEB), in the city of Cuiabá, Brazil. Teacher Vania Campos is a dedicated education professional, who has stood out for making a difference in the classroom. I contacted her, who immediately accepted the challenge.

The school has as Director the Teacher Maria Estevina Mendes de Souza, a young educator who runs the institution, with almost 400 students (according to the school sense of 2016) with a lot of competence and affection. Maria Estevina authorized the accomplishment of my work in the school institution.

The theme for this year’s contest is “Nature for Everyone – Loving the Earth”, and after following the initial directions of the project, the children made their individual drawings, but in a united way, exchanging ideas, talking to each other about the theme. It was a wonderful day!

When we started the conversation about the drawings, the children showed a lot of interest in knowing the work of the winners of previous years, drawings of children from all over the world, so even in school was having other activities that prevented the organization of a more formal exhibition, We present the drawings for the students, with improvised form.

I believe in art as a transforming expression, as a form of aesthetic expression capable of educating critical thinking for the construction of another reality from an existing reality.

Its importance is made by being essentially human. To bet on an education through art is, first and foremost, to choose to bring to the educational environment what we have most essential: the capacity to create and recreate. Therefore, art can be seen as a form of language of strong pedagogical character where the child expresses him/herself to speak about the world and to the world. It is a bearer of meaning, an expression of thought that precedes a practice.

In this way, artistic expression, allowing the dialogue between the real life and the desired life, can nourish and strengthen the desire for change, for a better world.

All drawings must contain, in addition to the name and age of the author, the message “May Peace Prevail On Earth”, written by him/herself.

After finishing the drawings, we talked a little more about the activity and the message that should convey. Some children asked about the details of the contest, others said they liked to draw, but what I felt most important in developing the project was the fact that every child was able to express the importance of being there, participating in something in the name of PEACE.

Sonia Palma
Nuneaton – England.
July 2017.