Unleashing children’s creativity

A coastal fishing village waking up to greet a new day, a tree house as beautiful as in a fairy tale, an amusement park with modern machinery; or the whole planet Earth — the great “roof” of humanity... these are among the many unique and lovely ideas have been expressed by nearly 30,000 little artists in their paintings submitted to the 2024 National Children's Art Contest entitled “Dream Houses”.
The winning works of the 2024 National Children's Art Contest, themed “Dream Houses”. (Photo: My Hanh)
The winning works of the 2024 National Children's Art Contest, themed “Dream Houses”. (Photo: My Hanh)

Following the success of the first edition of the contest in 2023, held by Vietnam Children's Magazine under the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Children's Rights in coordination with a number of partners, this year's competition has witnessed the participation of many children who are living in extremely difficult circumstances, children with disabilities, children of foreign nationality living in Vietnam, and so on.

According to the Organising Committee, many localities have sent very large numbers of entries, with Nam Dinh Province in particular submitting more than 11,000 paintings; followed by Can Tho with more than 3,700 paintings; and Hanoi with 3,400 paintings. The children who submitted paintings were 3-15 years old, from more than 600 preschools, elementary schools, middle schools, and art centres across the country.

In addition to the free theme of “My Green House”, the contest has an additional specific theme of “Green Nam O Land” (Lien Chieu District, Da Nang) — a famous 700-year-old fishing village in the Central region.

According to artist and teacher Nguyen Huu Hanh, Head of the Competition Jury, although many young people have not been to this place, they have learned from and consulted with mass media. Through the language of painting and age perspective, the contestants created colourful paintings featuring their own unique qualities. There were contestants of preschool and elementary school age participating in the contest. Although their paintings were simple in terms of colour to composition, they still conquered the jury with their innocent and interesting ideas.

After many rounds of selection, the Organising Committee honoured 275 excellent works and organised an exhibition in Hanoi on International Children's Day, June 1. Visiting the exhibition, viewers received positive energy from the children's creativity and colour combinations. Each work is like a mirror reflecting the unique soul and personality of the child artists: exciting and strong or gentle and profound. Concepts familiar to adults such as “green houses” or “cultural spaces” seemed difficult to express through paintings, but for children, they are very specific and familiar, such as the act of planting more trees, protecting the marine environment, preserving the traditional profession of fishing, making fish sauce, and so on.

One of the first-prize-winning contestants was Le Ngoc Nguyen Hao (a 4th grade student from Thai Binh), who impressed the judges and the audience alike by clearly showing her passion for fine arts since childhood with the creation of about 500 paintings across many themes and genres. Contestant Huynh Thi Khanh Ngoc (a 6th grade student from Da Nang) also won a first prize with her painting of the beach in her hometown of Nam O, featuring fishermen bringing fresh fish to the traditional fish sauce factory.

Notably, two “Promising Awards” were presented to two energetic candidates who, despite special circumstances, still tried to study well and nurture their artistic dreams, namely Le Thi Truc Vy (of the Muong ethnic group at SOS Children's Village Da Lat, Lam Dong Province) and Nguyen Do Tam Anh (Social Protection Centre 3-Tu Liem, Hanoi). Along with the participation of Vietnamese students, the contest also attracted more than 50 international contestants who are living and studying in Vietnam, adding further colour to the event.

Editor-in-Chief of Vietnam Children's Magazine Nguyen Manh Huy, Head of the Organising Committee of the contest, shared that the annual contest is expected to create a more useful and humane playground while promoting and providing education on children's rights. The contest has not only helped children have the opportunity to express their wishes and dreams of a happy, warm, and loving home, but also helped them raise awareness and take action on environmental protection, while also encouraging children to enhance their thinking, practice green skills and green behaviour, promote green lifestyle, and create a positive premise for their personal development in the future.

Not only do the entries convey pure dreams, they have also contributed to sowing seeds of love and spreading the spirit of volunteerism through auction activities and fundraising for children. Currently, the total value of the paintings collected is more than 70 million VND; with the highest paid work selling for 12 million VND.