Launched in April 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the UNCHR’S first art contest encouraged young people aged 12-25 to reflect creatively on the theme: “everyone counts in the fight against the virus, including refugees.” One in four participants were themselves refugees or asylum-seekers.
Global winners included Mayu, 16 from Japan, with Yoon-Hye, 22 from South Korea coming out as Asia’s Regional winner reflecting that “People should know that viruses don’t distinguish who they target. What refugees need to receive is protection, not discrimination.”
Out of the 5 Winners of the Cartoon Category, included Kayla, 23 from Indonesia and Nattee, 14 from Thailand. “In Indonesia, we work to advocate for refugees’ inclusion in the national system as the country and the people face this pandemic together. Kayla’s remarkable artwork resonates very well with our advocacy and what the UNHCR and all our partners work to achieve in Indonesia,” UNHCR representative in Indonesia Ann Maymann said in a statement. Regarding the idea behind her winning artwork, Kayla said, “All of us, including refugees have different backgrounds. But one thing we have in common is the urge to fight the coronavirus. No matter how small, the efforts that we’ve made and that the refugees have made matter.”
Those on the jury selecting the works included several UNHCR goodwill ambassadors, Japanese musician MIYAVI, Syrian refugee pilot Maya Ghazal, British actor Douglas Booth, American actress Kat Graham and British actress Gugu Mbatha Raw.
The contest aimed to inspire younger generations to be more inclusive of people who are forced to flee violence and persecution