The Australian High Commission (AHC) has celebrated the achievements of Solomon Islands students whose entries into the AHC Climate Change Art Competition won first prize or were highly commended for their age groups.
At an awards event on 27 October, Australia’s High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan congratulated students on their efforts, saying, ‘Your artworks truly capture not only the impacts of climate change here in Solomon Islands, but also some of the solutions we can achieve together. You are conveying a powerful and important message through your artworks.’
Head Mistress of St Nicholas College, Ms Glenda Searh Taniro Otainao, said ‘The art competition meant a lot to my school students. This has given students who are talented in art a chance to express themselves and prove themselves… I am thankful that the Australian High Commission has provided our young talented kids opportunities for them to show their talents at this early stage.’’.
Talking about what the opportunity meant to her students, Woodford International School Teacher Ms Kate Ulufa’alu said, ‘The art competition brought out their creativity and broadened their skills.’
Mother of prize-winning student Mr Nicholson Pitaqae, Ms Georgina Pitaqae, said, ‘This has been a great opportunity for the students to be recognised and to come together to feel part of the global family’.
Speaking about his art, first prize winner for the older age group Mr Richard Houeniahe of Florence Young Christian School said, ‘The scars [in my art] is the impacts which changed climate brings… What this art meant to me is that we need to be more responsible to our water.’ First prize winner for her age group Ms Kaya Semaika of Honiara Integrated High School said, ‘Big countries should stop polluting the earth and help to save it… We must love our planet’.
One of the key themes of this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP) in Egypt is how climate change is impacting food and water security. Students from across Solomon Islands were invited to submit artworks relating this theme to Solomon Islands.
Australia was pleased to provide a platform for young Solomon Islanders to share their messages on climate change impacts ahead of COP27 in November 2022.
Talking about the importance of climate action, Dr Strahan said ‘I often think about what type of earth we are gifting to our children. Children like the students here today, and my own two children. They are our future and we want them to inherit a healthy planet.’
Dr Strahan said, ‘We all have a responsibility for this future. Developed countries especially need to step up and take responsibility for our large part in emissions. Australia has acknowledged this and is taking more action to do our part to combat the climate crisis.’