The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation has announced the winners of its annual ‘Science Without Borders Challenge’, an international student art contest promoting ocean conservation.
This year’s competition, centred around the theme ‘The Sixth Extinction,’ encouraged young artists to raise awareness about endangered marine species and the urgent need to protect our oceans.
Open to primary and secondary school students from 11-19 years old, this year’s Science Without Borders Challenge saw more than 1,200 students from 67 countries, submit artwork to the competition. Artwork was judged in two categories, based on age, with the winning entries in each category encouraging viewers to think deeply about the impact people have on the environment.
First place in the 15-19 age group this year was 16-year old Boram Shim from Norwood, New Jersey, with a piece entitled artwork, ‘We Are Next’. Boram’s piece depicts a number of endangered marine species, including a Kemp’s ridley turtle and the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. The artwork depicts the history of animal extinctions, emphasizing that if we continue to harm the environment, we may face extinction ourselves.
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Boram said that through her participation in the Science Without Borders Challenge, she came to realize that humans pose a greater danger than she had thought. When she learned that vaquitas and turtles often perish as a result of becoming entangled in gill nets, she incorporated this into her artwork.
‘Learning that there are only around 10 vaquitas left, and that they’re on the verge of extinction, truly devastated me,’ she said. ‘I wanted to channel this passion for their survival through my artwork.’
Second place in the category for 15-19 year-old students went to Celine Yang from the Republic of Korea with the artwork The Currents of Pollution, followed by Annette Kim, also from the Republic of Korea, who claims the third-place spot with Writing the Next Chapter.
In the 11-14 age group, Yanjun Mao, a 14-year-old student from China, emerged as the first-place winner for his artwork titled ‘The Sea Bears Witness to Everything’. Yanjun’s artwork captures the critically endangered hawksbill turtle swimming in front of a tearful eye in the ocean. He said this ‘signifies the ocean’s witness to the history of the hawksbill sea turtle as well as the heartbreaking killing of hawksbill sea turtles by humans.’
The artwork conveys the importance of protecting marine life while offering hope for a better future. By participating in the contest, Yanjun says he learned about the ocean’s importance to people and their role in caring for nature.
Ridham Agarwal from India took home second place in the ages 11-14 category for her piece, The Dark Journey Ahead, while Alexander Zhang from China won third place for his artwork, Mother River Saves Lives.
Each of the winners will receive scholarships of up to $500 from the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation to celebrate their achievements so they can continue to pursue their interests in art and ocean conservation.
Through this competition, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation hopes to educate students worldwide about the need to protect our ocean and inspire the next generation of ocean advocates.
Amy Heemsoth, Director of Education at the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, said, ‘This contest plays a vital role in raising awareness about endangered species in the ocean. The artworks created by these talented young individuals bring attention to the critical need for ocean conservation and inspire us all to take action.’
For more information about the Science Without Borders Challenge and the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, head to www.LOF.org.