Lions International Peace Poster Contest 2017-18


The international peace project by Lions Clubs around the world couldn’t come at a better time, with all the conflicts facing us, near and far – such as in Mogadishu, Las Vegas, and Syria. Lions Clubs have been sponsoring this Lions International Peace Poster Contest in schools and youth groups since 1987. The art contest encourages young people aged 11-13 to express their visions of peace – for the past thirty years, the theme has always been peace.

The top 15 entries, from Chanel College, Hadlow School, Lakeview School, Masterton Intermediate School, and Opaki School, were exhibited in the Aratoi Museum foyer in September and October, thanks to the coordination of Ross Bonnett from the Lions Club. I grew up in a family of artists, and with the words of the pacifist, A. J. Muste (1885-1967): “There is no way to peace, peace is the way” I have always seen art as a peacemaking activity, a visionary act, a way to ask questions, and a means to a greater end, and I was keen to see the art in the Lions International Peace Poster Contest. The poster designs featured a warm rising sun. People holding hands. A globe of green and blue. Rainbows. Angels. The round peace sign merged into the shape of a heart, and other signs to ban Trump and Kim Jong-un.

The work of Penny Noble, an 11-year-old student at Hadlow School, won the Wairarapa level of the competition, judged by Susanna Shadbolt, Director of Aratoi Museum. Second prize went to Mackenzie Murray, 13, of Chanel College, and third prize to Zane Robinson, 12, of Masterton Intermediate School. The art was judged on the criteria of originality, artistic merit, and expression of the theme, and Susanna Shadbolt found Penny Noble’s work to be “beautifully executed, with amazing layering – a stand out work.” Penny Noble’s entry will now compete on a national level against winners from other New Zealand regions to represent the country on the international stage. At the international level, judges from the art, peace, youth, education and media communities select one grand prize winner and 23 merit award winners. A 13-year-old in Thailand, Lakkana Meepara, won the Grand Prize in the 2016-17 international competition.

ON SHOW AT ARATOI THIS WEEK: Boundless – Printmaking beyond the Frame; Gifted – Recent Acquisitions; An Ornament to the Town – The Band Rotunda in New Zealand (all until Nov 26); and Tina Finn – The Uses of Enchantment (until Nov 19).

From left to right:
Aratoi Museum Director Susanna Shadbolt, First Prize Winner Penny Noble, 11, and Ross Bonnett, from the Lions Club.