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Water gives life – Danube Art Masters 2009

In September, 26 artists and National Danube Art Master winners aged 6 to 17 from 13 countries gathered in Budapest for a three-day excursion and environmental programme.

Credit: G2 Foto

The three-day excursion included a sightseeing tour of Budapest, a trip to the Budapest Zoo, and visits to other towns along the river. At first shy, the children quickly began to forge friendships.

Danube Art Master competitions were organised by the ICPDR and the Danube Environmental Forum (DEF) as part of Danube Day celebrations in 13 Danube Basin countries including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. Children were encouraged to visit local rivers and surrounding areas and consider what the environment means to them. They were then asked to reflect their thoughts and aspirations through environmental art using materials from in and around the river. Over 5000 artworks were entered in this year’s competition. The award ceremony held in Budapest, Hungary, on 25-27 September was attended by the national Danube Art Master winners from all Danube countries.

All the children were awarded certificates of merit for their contributions, and the International Danube Art Master prize was awarded to Vasyl Vataman for his piece ‘Water Gives Life’. The work, a miniaturist recreation of the Danube ecosystem, presents the strip of the Danube most familiar to Vataman: his village cut in half by the river with its wooden bridge, fountain, small houses and roads. Other national prize-winning submissions included works such as Serbia’s ‘From the Black Forest to the Black Sea’, depicting the entire flow of the Danube using rice painted blue, and Austria’s ‘Danube Way of Peace’ with a symbolic message for the need for protection of the river in order to protect ourselves. All the works demonstrated the children’s understanding of the need for protection of water and the environment.

Caring about the Danube together. At first shy, the children quickly began to forge friendships through shared admiration of each other’s artwork displayed in the Award Ceremony Hall. The three-day excursion included a sightseeing tour of Budapest, a trip to the Budapest Zoo, and visits to other towns along the river. The highlight of the stop at Eszergom was a guided tour of the Danube Museum and a fun session of river connected games. Using words and images the children composed messages for their Environment Ministers to underline the importance of water protection. The sentiment of all the children was captured by the team lead by Vasyl Vataman when they wrote, “Let’s think together about the future of our rivers.” Vasyl will also be invited to Vienna in Febuary to attend the ICPDR Ministerial Meeting and to bring the message of the Danube Youth to water ministers.

The Danube Art Masters competition was organised by the ICPDR and the Danube Environmental Forum (DEF), and the three-day environmental programme was supported by Coca-Cola.

Teodora Artimon is an MA student at Central European University and a permanent student assistant to Global Water Partnership Hungary.

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Last Edit: 2010-01-25