‘We the People, We the Arts’ is an initiative to inspire emerging artists to use art as an instrument to present unique perspectives and solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This was said by curator at Art Basel, Hong Kong and Artspace Sydney Executive Director Alexie Glass-Kantor at the inaugural ceremony of ‘We the People, We the Arts’, a nationwide competition for fine art students aimed at promoting the SDGs set by the United Nations UN) at VM Art Gallery in Karachi on Thursday.
The competition was previously held in 2016 by the Swiss Embassy and UN Information Centre. However, at the time the competition only focused on one of the SDGs – Zero Hunger. Students of five leading art schools in Pakistan had participated in the event and produced paintings, miniatures and sculptures on the theme of hunger and how it could be eradicated. This year, the theme of the competition has been extended to all the SDGs, including No Poverty, Climate Action, Gender Equality, Affordable and Clean Energy, Quality Education among others and also invites all arts students aged 18 and above enrolled in accredited Pakistani colleges and universities to participate.
In the previous competition, three categories of art – sculpture, painting and miniature painting – were included. This year, however, another category – print making – has been added in the competition.
Art submissions by participating students will be judged by an international jury in two phases. In the first phase, 24 finalists, six from each art category, will be selected who will be awarded $200. In the second phase, the winner from each category will be announced at a ceremony in Islamabad. Each of the four winners will be awarded $500.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, VM Art Gallery Art Director Riffat Alvi said the competition was a commendable initiative to channel the talents of young artists for the betterment of the planet.
The ceremony was attended by a large number of art students. Swiss Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Bernhard Furger, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Head Stefanie Burri and Artspace Sydney Deputy Director Michelle Newton were also present on the occasion.