Thailand’s young artists on their country, their future

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There are 13.3 million children under the age of 18 in Thailand. 

What kind of future do they want for Thailand? What are the most important challenges that needs to be tackled? What can we do to achieve a sustainable and more inclusive future for all?

As part of the 70th anniversary celebration and launch of the new Country Partnership Framework between the Government of Thailand and the World Bank Group, we decided to take an innovative approach to thinking about Thailand’s future and development priorities by tapping the minds of children and youth for their ideas and solutions through an art competition called “Thailand Young Artists: Our Country, Our Future.”

Over 300 Thai children and youth from across the country, from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the north and Narathiwas in the south, sent artwork in various formats. Through pastel, watercolor, acrylic, and charcoal on paper and canvas, children as young as 5 years old communicated their visions of the future of their home country. The artworks were thoughtful, rich, imaginative, and a feast for the eyes. 

They depict inspiring images that reflect deep concerns for the environment and climate change. The submissions illustrate the youth’s respect for sustainability of progress, and the strong responsibility they feel as stewards and protectors of the environment. Thai children hope for high quality education for everyone so that all people can reach their full potential and for everybody to live in unity and peace. Also importantly, the artwork revealed how much diversity in culture, heritage, and the Thai identity are valued. 

We’re pleased to share the results of the art competition below, featuring the 16 winners and their visions of Thailand.

Under 12

First prize
Kinnari Chino, 12 years old, Chiang Mai 
Title: Protect World, Protect Life
Technique: Acrylic, mix

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Protect World, Protect Life by Kinnari Chino

“In the past, humans have used our natural resources wastefully causing pollution, climate change, and many other consequences. Therefore, my idea is that I want Thailand and every country in the world to help reduce global warming seriously and change what we do to reduce pollution for the sake of all life on this planet.”

Second prize
Ratar Sakhositkul, 9 years old, Bangkok
Title: Butterfly Boat
Technique: Poster paint

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Butterfly Boat by Ratar Sakhositkul

“A few days ago, I saw heartbreaking photos showing what trash does to animals and I heard the news about a baby dugong Marium that died because of plastic trash. It makes me feel so sad and I start to think about how we can help them. So, I draw this picture with entitled "Butterfly Boat" from my imagination that will be able to help us remove trash from the rivers and oceans. This butterfly boat sail by using green energy from a big flower and reduce pollution at the same time because the butterfly wings make fresh air. I hope I can help solve this problem better by using butterfly boat to reduce plastic trash in our world. I love animals, I love nature, and I want to see the future with people, animals, and nature living together without plastic trash problem or pollution. I believe we can make a beautiful future if we start to care about it.”

Honorary prize
Thitirat Laosakun, 11 years old, Sa Kaeo
Technique: Poster paint, chalk
Title: My Dream for Thailand

 

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My Dream for Thailand by Thitirat Laosakun

“The future I want for Thailand is for Thai people to be happy. For Thailand to have complete happiness. It is a land of peaceful tranquility. There is beautiful nature, no pollution, people are friendly, love unity, people have a beautiful mind, and still maintain our good culture. Everyone is healthy. All children receive a good education that is modern, gets to learn about technology to be used to advance the country.”

Honorary prize
Bianca Abo, 11 years old, Bangkok
Title: Stand United
Technique: Watercolor

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Stand United by Bianca Abo

“I was inspired to create a piece about compassion and unison. Showing that we must work together in unison and collaborate on ideas and actions to create a world we can all live in happily and healthily. We must respect our land and all it gives us. I painted using watercolors to show how the land could look and the comparison between both outlooks, with compassion and unity at its center.”

Honorary prize
Pran Panmuang, 7 years old, Satun 
Title: Starting from the Family
Technique: Marker, acrylic

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Starting from the Family by Pran Panmuang

“The world today has developed so much which has resulted in both good and bad. I think that family is the starting point that will build the foundation for Thailand’s future and the world. My family lives together happily with my mom taking care of me, my younger sibling using technology for good and my dad working. We live close to the ocean that is abundant because my community takes good care of it. My community is happy, which makes Thailand happy, which makes me happy.”

13-17 years old

First prize
Meimei Phanthahatai Bangkunthian, 16 years old, Bangkok
Title: Utopia Future
Technique: Acrylic

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Utopia Future by Meimei Phanthahatai Bangkunthian

“I want to show here that the future depends on us and our actions will affect how our world would be in the future. As competition rises more business people care less about the environment as they strive for their success and waste plastic daily without thinking. Right now, many big stores like Tops supermarket, b2s and more are banning plastic bags and I hope that we can reduce the amount of plastic and maintain a bright warming future for us.”

*Depending on your perspective, the drawing can also be viewed upside down

Second prize
Saowalak Buato, 15 years old, Nakhon Si Thammarat
Title: ความฝันที่พรั่งพรู
Technique: Watercolor, poster paint, ink pen, prints

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Gushing Dream by Saowalak Buato

“The emergence of new innovations has allowed Thailand to use technology in various fields, making it more convenient. I would like Thailand to advance in various fields. Whether in education, technology, and more advanced transportation. In education, I would like Thai children to have the freedom to choose their preferred field of study so that once they have a career, they will be able to show their full potential.”

Honorary prize
Pannapach Keereedej, 17 years old, Bangkok
Title: Family Space
Technique: Watercolor, cut and paste

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Family Space by Pannapach Keereedej

“Environmental changes have begun due to economic expansion and there is no doubt that we are now living in an era of prosperity. We know we must walk together but I hope you can leave some space for children like me. Thank you.”

Honorary prize
Pornpicha Yasert, 15 years old, Nakorn Ratchasima
Title: Mirror
Technique: Poster paint, marker

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Mirror by Pornpicha Yasert

“Our country and many countries are currently experiencing air pollution all because humans aren’t taking good care of it like a mirror that has been left for a long time, with dust accumulating making it cloudy. But if we help clean the mirror, it will return to its original state. Likewise, if we start looking after and preserving the environment, our country will return to be as bright as before.”

Honorary prize
Sirirach Rattamanee, 13 years old, Trang
Title: Our Home, Our Country
Technique: Chalk

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Our Home, Our Country by Sirirach Rattamanee

“For me, the country is like a house that we all have to help each other to build strong and safe. We must know how to cherish with love everyone in the house. When the family is happy and living a comfortable life it will be like the people in the country that live happily. In the end, Thailand, which is our home, will always be happy.”

*The windows open and close

18-24 years old

First prize
Unchalika Keawjan, 23 years old, Nakorn Pathom
Title: When I Grow Up, I Want to Be…
Technique: Acrylic

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When I Grow Up, I Want To Be by Unchalika Keawjan

“In the future, I hope that the children who have many dreams will live in a country without disparities and that everyone will be given equal opportunities in order to fully demonstrate their potential and finally create the future in which they can dream and make their dreams come true.”

Second prize
Prad Thammawutthikun, 22 years old, Bangkok
Title: Out Comes Money
Technique: Ink pen, copic marker

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Out Comes Money by Prad Thammawutthikun

“I would like to see Thailand’s future with a better economy. Everyone has money to use and save. In this artwork, a farmer is harvesting rice but when it comes out, it becomes a lot of money for farmers, which I would like it to mean that the economy is good and working in any profession would create income for people. The money that is in the farmer's pockets is like having money saved for everyone's future.”

Honorary prize
Pongsapak Nulai, 18 years old, Phattalung
Title: Headdress
Technique: Mix

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Headdress by Pongsapak Nulai

“The headdress is worn for Manohra performance in the south of Thailand. Currently, these cultures are gradually disappearing as no people continues it. Although now Manohra may still be easy to find but in the future, I believe that it will definitely be difficult to find because media and technology have played a large role in youth. Most Thai children are following Korean or European culture more. In the future, I would like to see Manohra dance as beautiful as ever, and many people like it. Not just watching foreign concerts. I would like to preserve the culture that ancestors have passed down from generation to generation along with the Kingdom of Thailand forever.”

Honorary prize
Patima Saeboo, 18 years old, Nonthaburi
Title: My Future
Technique: Poster paint

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My Future by Patima Saeboo

“The city is full of modernity, but we should still be able to live in harmony with nature. Everyone stays together regardless of their age, ethnicity, skin color. No matter how different we are, we can live together happily.”

Honorary prize
Kasitinat Sudta, 21 years old, Chonburi
Title: Smiles
Technique: Wood and plastic paint

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Smiles by Kasitinat Sudta

“I am a country boy who comes to study in the city. In the countryside, smiling is a familiar sight. But when I came to study in the city, I rarely see smiles at all. The bigger and prosperous the city grows; the smile seems to go the opposite direction. I want to see people in Thailand only with smiles.”

Judges favorite  
Haseeyah Chewae, 8 years old with cognitive disability, Narathiwas
Title: Let’s help reduce global warming together!
Technique: Mix, crayon

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Let’s help reduce global warming together by Haseeyah Chewae

“I want to make our world a better place to live. I would like Thai people to join hands in helping to protect the environment from global warming for our future.”

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