Voting is closed. Thank you to everyone who participated in the Together Art Contest. Stay tuned for the finalists.
Ahmad Reza Rezai
Education is Food - 721 votes
In this particular painting, I have tried to unveil the tragic and innocent fantasies of millions of children around the globe who are suffering.
I named this painting “Education is Food” and I am addressing the humanitarian organizations; to prevent poverty, let’s educate the children in conflicted and rural areas of the world.
I am inspired by the sincerity and the purity of children who symbolize the reality of every community in the globe and who often suffer the most in a vulnerable society.
Children are the main characters of my artwork. I portray realism genre with oil on canvas with the hope that the sincerity I expose in my artwork reaches the masses.
VOID - 126 votes
This painting was created to provoke an emotional and stimulating experience to every individual that comes across it. Involved in our everyday lives, we often take many things for granted. Things that can pretty much keep us alive such as water, water is the most precious natural resource on earth; it’s the only resource that keeps us clean, hydrated, and helps grow food. In simple words, there is no life without water; it’s the resource that keeps us alive. Yet, millions of people take this for granted and usually those that have access to fresh water. The ones that don’t are the ones to suffer. According to the United Nations, ‘about 750 million people lack access to safe water; one child dies every minute from a water-‐related disease and 1.2 billion people, a fifth of the global population, live in areas where water is scarce.’1 Lack of water leads to unsanitary water, which leads to diseases, poverty and often death. And so, this is what my painting void is all about, it shows two pair of hands, one that is squeezing the earth of all its precious resource and the other protecting it. As individuals it is our responsibility to monitor the water usage and not take it for granted as it is one of the biggest problem in the world.
“Together” is a great project, it will not only raise awareness on this issue but will help bring people together to help those in need of a better life.
Sada - 19 votes
Each of the colours represents a being. All are equal, with the same number of colours. The drops were created one at a time.
Patience is key...
This painting is inspired by a photo taken of a lady in the Newakot Bhalche village of Nepal after the devastating earthquakes in April and May. My sister met this family on her recent trip to Nepal. Many homes in this village were destroyed. More than 4300 people were killed and the earthquakes caused at least $2 billion in economic losses.
The government of Canada took quick action to deliver critical assistance to those affected by this disaster, hours after the initial earthquake. Our government established the Nepal Earthquake Relief fund which matched donations contributed by individual Canadians. Canada has so far provided $23 million in humanitarian assistance funding.
International aid has helped save thousands of lives. A number of earthquake-affected people still require humanitarian assistance. Residents affected by the earthquakes are still in need of permanent shelter and construction of earthquake-proof schools. Simple guidelines for construction and building codes need to be followed. Residents of Nepal need to rebuild their livelihoods. This involves searching for new jobs and rebuilding their harvest which will be in short supply. By focusing on long term rebuilding and sustainability we can make an effort to reduce global poverty and inequality.
Enjoy and Protect Nature - 26 votes
Urban green space, to the eyes of a refugee who left behind wars, famines torture and human made miseries, is not just parks and trails to jog on, but a symbol of life and the preservation of life, human first, then nature, ecology and all creatures.
One of the things that fascinated me most, when I came as a refugee from Sudan to Canada, was the parks, the well-kept trees and greenery, the trails by the rivers, the recreational facilities in those parks and the playground.
As an artist I found myself compelled to express my appreciation of this combination of development and preservation of nature, though I knew it was not the last word, I have seen green spaces, where I used to play with my kids, being lost to residential projects, but still I produced and exhibited a series of landscapes, first to appreciate this preservation of life and at the same time to emphasize the necessity of protecting and developing it.
So, I invite the viewers of my works to enjoy the urban green space and nature in general, and protect and develop it.
The Butterfly Effect - 110 votes
The butterfly effect is a concept that postulates small causes can have large effects. One tiny butterfly flapping its wings can result in weather changes that trigger a hurricane. Every human being has the capacity to alter the course of humanity. Our lives are interdependent, indistinguishable, and necessary.
I started with the idea of the hands of different race holding the world together as a representation of any individual cooperating and helping each other to make the world a better place. Throughout the progress, I got inspired to add more ideas. I also included a metaphor of hands placed down as tree roots that signifies its strength, as well as including the slogan, “All For Change” with the roots. Since global development is a broad topic, I thought it would be a better idea to point out and explore multiple, specific aspects rather than focusing on one side, therefore, I brainstormed a series of positive changes for global development and made symbols for them. These include gender equality, health care, security, knowledge and innovation, opportunities for jobs and education, freedom of rights, etc. Overall the main purpose of the piece is to raise awareness, and to question, how you can be involved in change and action to make the world a better place today and for the future. The world is our home, it is our job to take care of it.
Canadian Metamorphosis - 325 votes
In-between the spaces of our most patriotic symbols one can start to see into other representations of our beautiful country. Be it in the literal sense of this piece, or in the metaphorical sense of our Canadian ideology, we tend to agree our nation is in a state of transition, ultimately for the better. As 2015 marked change in every sense of the word throughout Canada, one can only hope to see the beauty in the final outcome.
This piece started as a design project simply aiming to address the similarities in positive and negative shapes. To me, this relationship could be more symbolic. I chose the map of our country, our leaf, and flag symbol not only because the negative spaces worked really well, but because it told a story every Canadian could relate to. Progression is what drives us as Canadians, and as in this piece, the change is gradual and subtle, but will always build our values in the end.
Self-identity - 24 votes
My current body of works explores inner world of an individual, emotions related with diverse matters of mind, conditions impacted by fragile position in society, relationship with others and perception of the world that surrounds that person. Interaction of physical matter and mind creates a strong and mysterious projection on human lives where abuse of commencement is anonymous and intriguing so the individual's identity and character as a result may abolish or return in initial chaos.
Mixed - 34 votes
The abstract painting depicts interactive and multicultural experiences within Canadian culture through the multilayered and dynamic use of color and composition. This piece is exciting, dynamic, lively and expressive. I immigrated to Canada from Europe along with my family 26 years ago. English is my second language and I am fluently bilingual. Living in poverty for many years, and facing barriers other migrants are dealing with today is something I am familiar with and this is why I was inspired to submit this piece. I believe that acceptance, tolerance and curiosity are virtues of Canadian culture. We are a country made up of people who have migrated from around the world and our positive relationships to each other and other countries have significantly affected global development for the better. Canada is known for our peace keeping efforts, our friendliness, our resources and beauty, and most importantly our continued positive presence on the global stage. This painting is a representation that elements which would not otherwise have mixed, have found each other and created something beautiful. Colors of the world unite! In global development efforts to mitigate the world's biggest challenges, Canada has stood out to be one of the World's leading countries in employment opportunities, health care, education, resource development, and quality of life in general. In an effort for a more positive life, immigrants to Canada find solace, opportunity, and a promising future. I’m a proud of my heritage, but I am equally proud to be a Canadian Citizen.
BIRTHRIGHT - 394 votes
I am inspired by the inherent therapeutic nature of art, specifically the marbling art form. Painting on water, I enter a meditative dance with natures’ elements, intuitively selecting colors and their application. When the paint transfers to paper, what is revealed is the mystery and partnership of my creation with the Divine. Abstract and open to interpretation, I see the image of my pumping heart in its complex organized chaos and messy magnificence. Art resides in the sacred space of my heart and permeates throughout my being, carrying its message. I am both a Divine Creation and Creator, and creativity is my birthright.
BIRTHRIGHT was created using the Turkish Ebru marbling technique. Marbling also has origins in Central Asia, India and Japan, which is a testament to the influence of art. Whether rooted in a similar or unique process, art is a shared language transcending borders, a powerful tool that can contribute directly to global development. As a graduate of both International Development and Journalism, I had the opportunity to work in East Africa and engage with the growing community of artists who use art as a peacemaking mechanism to create alternative development paths, build partnerships and bridge dialogue.
Back in the Eastside - 23 votes
I am a Scottish-Canadian artist, based in Vancouver. I work with acrylic paints on canvas to produce images in a painterly realist style. The resulting paintings combine a vibrant palette and cropped, asymmetric compositions, reflects the influence of various Post-impressionist artists, such as the Scottish Colourists & Group of Seven.
This painting was painted earlier this year, in response to an arts grant from the Vancouver Foundation. It is part of a collection that captured that illustrate distinct local narratives present in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES).
The painting depicts a guy cycling along the street with a supermarket shopping cart, loaded with his worldly goods. This is a common sight in the Downtown Eastside, as a lot of folks use bikes to get about the neighbourhood, and commonly use shopping carts to transport recycle or household items around the area.
While this is a reflection of the persistent poverty in the neighbourhood, to me it illustrates the resilience of people in the face of adversity, and as such is a symbol of hope.
I submitted this shot to show that we need to protect nature to protect our environment. By people leaving plastic bottles and garbage it consumes out environment and someday our landscapes water can be contaminated and we might not have the beauty landscapes and nature we have today. I want people to see the beauty of Canada the landscape and the water how clean it is and how we need to protect our country landscapes and water.
Jesus on the Mainline - 38 votes
Acrylic on Canvas, Diptych: 36.5 x 60 x 1.5"
I have a strong belief that technology will change our global environment and help to alleviate the suffering in our world. With the help of communications technology and the Internet, more people will have access to information, which in turn can help to educate, connect and improve the lives of individuals and communities. The availability of education, improved health care systems and opportunity will be a giant stepping-stone to truly connecting us as a global community.
My painting is a reflection of my feelings of the importance of the availability of technology to everybody, everywhere.
Silent City - 44 votes
The concept for this art piece “Silent City” is about how the world needs to approach sustaining itself. Humans and nature need to find balance and harmony to continue to co-exist is the main point of the images of architecture and nature separated by a pale-faced woman. This woman represents Mother Nature as well as all suffering humans life around the world due to the unbalanced force of human existence and natural resources. Her complexion is drained of all life and health with a deeply concerned face watching suffering continue to grow. Her image is to remind us all we must find more environmentally sound, human empowering, and ethically driven ways to move forward. If we are to continue to develop and survive as a human race we must not only work together as humans but a planet of living things.
My vision for Global Peace - 48 votes
I made this painting from a picture I personally took from the street life in Paris years ago.
Once a resident of Paris, and now residing in Toronto, I was deeply touched and at the same time hurt by the terrible event of suicide bombing which effected innocent people on the 13th of November 2015 in this beautiful world city Paris (France). This tragic event left me speechless.
Looking back to this picture it reminded me of happy moments years ago seeing young families, couples and friends enjoying walking through the beautiful streets of Paris, fearless and in peace. By painting this image I hope that this fearless peace is felt by others also in the universe. This is my vision of global peace.
Yasmin - 170 votes
This image is of an Afghan American girl named Yasmin at the Razi School in Queens, New York, a private institution offering education in an Islamic environment.
Having worked in Afghanistan for two years, I truly understand the struggle that individuals face in developing countries, whether it be due to poverty, war or a lack of basic human rights.
After moving to the U.S., I became equally aware of the struggles immigrant diaspora face when attempting to integrate into western society. In particular, Islamic communities have faced intolerance over the last fifteen years, as a result of extreme ideals unrelated to the core values and principles of Islam.
Although the religion is frequently seen as a foreign entity, Islam is actually deeply rooted in American history, with waves of immigration in the 20th century. With this piece, I hope to shed light on Muslim communities in the western world, creating a new narrative and looking at the age-old question, ”What does an American look like?”
Leonard Bernstein once said, "Art cannot change events. But it can change people. It can affect people so that they are changed...because people are changed by art – enriched, ennobled, encouraged – they then act in a way that may affect the course of events...by the way they vote, they behave, the way they think.
The Rhythm of Hope - 221 votes
The piece is built on a foundation of a multitude of colours, representing the diversity of peoples and cultures around the world who strive for the development of their communities. The viewer may draw symbolic meaning from the various shades chosen, such the golden fields of grain that reference the harnessing of energies during the His Highness the Aga Khan's Golden Jubilee year and the international development projects realized. The central figure plays a drum, which is a call to all nations to come together in unity to ensure equity and quality of life for all people. Images of local people working and harvesting crop to make a better life for their families remind us of the importance of empowering others in bettering their predicament. The elements reminiscent of stained glass provide moments of translucence and reflection as a window from the material world to Divine Light - the source of inspiration for hope.
What inspired me to paint this is the contrast of living in the city in Canada and my Latino heritage. The flowers represent the tropics in which my family comes from and presenting the mass diversity in the Latino community. I chose to use water colour because I believe it emphasizes the delicate delicate colours framed by the black ink.
I chose to use black ink to represent the city because it shows how elegant but yet how harsh and loud it can be. Both techniques are very different from each other but yet they can co-exist on one canvass, much like many people in Canada. A country so diverse and yet very cultured and very accepting.
Home - 591 votes
The world is our 'home' and our 'home' is the world. We take pride in our homes by furnishing each room, decorating the inside and outside and making it a safe environment for our children to grow and play. The same applies for world development. As global citizens of the world, we need to help each other to make our 'world' a better place.
I was humbled by the opportunity to sketch this image. My career in kitchen planning and designing inspired me to depict global development as a home.
This home is made up of the left side where the rooms are modern with electricity etc. The right where the rooms are in poorer conditions with the bare minimum. The story behind this picture is that we can all live under one roof and work together to flourish all the rooms in the house. We can raise awareness to end global poverty and help create sustainable solutions for improving health and education as well as creating hope amongst all our brothers and sisters around the world.
Natural Wonders - 59 votes
This art contest inspired me because I am an “Artist for change”.
My artwork represents change. It depicts the cornerstone of global development: the protection of planet Earth! The reason I chose to portray our planet’s natural resources is because if the Earth is not healthy, we will not be able to move forward with global development. The “wonders of nature” must be preserved and protected in order to improve the living conditions of populations and to foster global development.
Orange symbolizes the Earth, our “temporary home”; blue represents water, essential to our survival. These are not tranquil, but rather tumultuous waters not only because they are racked by conflict, shortages and inequalities, but also due to numerous positive actions for global development.
The diversely shaped orange figures illustrate countries and inhabitants that are striving to preserve their natural resources and improve their relationships. Through this artwork, I wanted to show that each of us can, in our own way, help make the world a better place. I sometimes have difficulty expressing my ideas and commitment to global development in words, this is why art is my favoured means of expression.
Calypso - 351 votes
Calypso is a watercolor-ink painting that captures the power of the individual person to be an agent of change. All great change comes from humble beginnings. This painting blossomed from a single line, a single brushstroke, and a single color. Similarly, single positive vision filled with optimism and hope can be enough to ripple effect and inspire hundreds to take action.
Gesture - 494 votes
The artwork is composed of seven images that highlight positive initiatives towards resilient development around the world. Whether it is the provision of safe drinking water, or increasing education opportunities or nurturing a sustainable community environment, the process of development begins by reaching out, by grabbing a hand, by a single gesture. This is emphasized in each image within the piece, whose subject matter portray opportunities that can be harnessed through a single tangible gesture of development. Each image is painted as a mosaic of individual tiles (1”x1”) treated as singular artworks in and of themselves. Combined, each set of mosaics creates the larger image which is a comment to Canada’s multicultural identity and also speaks to the idea of the global citizen and ‘togetherness,’ of the creation of a larger whole by the joining of multiple parts. This theme is iterated in the overall composition of the artwork which treats each gesture as a fragment of a broken object, also an underlying critique of the often disjointed nature of contemporary global development practices. The ‘cracks’ between each image, however, allow the mirror to show through, reflecting the viewer back to themselves. In this way, the viewer becomes a participant in the artwork, the root for each seed of development, a vision that bridges global collaboration towards a better world.
When I read about this contest, I was immediately drawn towards the idea of portraying change and development over time. My vision was to create a piece that depicted the ideas of hope, education, growth, and that the world is full of opportunity. I also wanted to create a piece that catered to all age groups and was relatable.
The reason I chose a black canvas is to show despair and by adding color, the universe becomes a bright place where we can help educate each other. This particular piece depicts a rural development transitioning to an urban development. The books in the painting represent stepping stones of knowledge and that the sky is the limit. The rainbow coloured books are very important as they signify hope and cheerfulness (that is also why my art is often brightly coloured). Throughout the piece you can also notice that new technology is being introduced; from the slab to the computer, candles to lanterns and street lamps, or farms to cityscapes. This signifies that although change is imminent, if we are educated and informed in a positive way, we continue to help each other grow.
When I think of global development, I think of people and quality of life. Each one of us has dreams and goals, and I believe each person in this world has a right to pursue them. Unfortunately, not everyone has the means. It is up to the rest of us from across the planet to come together and be agents of positive change for our fellow citizens of the world, to help them realise their goals and improve their quality of life. In my piece we see people from different backgrounds joining together and pledging their support to help alleviate global poverty. The result is seen above: a woman gazing upon her reflection in the water envisions herself in a career in the healthcare field in her community. She is about to be given books to start her studies by a teacher from the school, which was made possible by funds, resources, or services pledged by global citizens. Equipped with education and knowledge of healthcare, she can then help her community who will eventually learn and help others. It is just one example showing that when we work together, we make the world a better place for us all.
Global development is a medium through which underprivileged individuals are able to gain access to a better, improved quality of life, that they would otherwise be unable to attain due to the nature of their impoverished environment. It is a movement that requires interconnectedness between people to find new and innovative solutions. This in turn inspires a positive change in multiple aspects of people’s lives across continents.
My art piece is a map of the world filled with different, detailed patterns that connect and overlap with each other, symbolizing inter-connectedness between countries and continents. The patterns are inspired from Swahili and Indian designs, and also include other art concepts such as mandala and zentangle. Mandala is a Sanskrit word that symbolically represents the universe in a geometric form and has existed for hundreds of years. Zentangle is a newer concept, which is used to combine different designs and patterns together and has become very popular in North America and other parts of the world. The incorporation of different forms of art into one piece is a representation of global diversity. People in various parts of the world will each see a different aspect of my art piece based on their backgrounds and their experiences. At first glance, it may seem like a simple concept but it has depth and complexity just like global development and diversity.
Under the Rain - 20 votes
Under the Rain, two days ago when I took these pictures in front of a puddle. They are a series of photographs which reflect people walking under the rain and being reflected in a puddle, only I turned the water upside down in the picture. The picture illustrates how what we are is being reflected in the water and how we are all in this together. We are all reflected equally in front of the water; everything well all do counts.
The years of growing and living in different countries with diverse cultures has not only exposed me to different languages and society but also taught me how to deal with the tension of foreign elements. This includes how to bring elements together effectively, to produce something new that is powerful, is in harmony and brings people into dialog to find common grounds and encourages them to live in peace, tolerance and respect for each other.
In my art I love to explore the beauty of contrast, how it can create tension but also if put right creates harmony, hope or despair. I speak through my art and try to express my feelings, emotions and thoughts through illustration, flow and harmony of colours. As artists, I feel it is our responsibility to speak about the suffering of humanity. It is time for humanity to step up to another level and engage in dialog with each other to find common grounds and ways to live in peace.
The inspiration for love, peace, harmony, respect and tolerance come to me, through the beautiful quotes and poems of Rumi. His message was the message of love and tolerance for fellow human being.
We “Canadians” want to be part of creating a new colourful globe, where gender is equal, children get the education and nutrition they need, diseases are controlled, environment is safe for us, our children and the generation to come.
Shine Through - 84 votes
'Shine Through' is an abstract interpretation of the power of connection and was inspired by the role connection plays in Global Development. The colours are fading, neutralizing and popping with vibrancy to distinguish the separation between under developed, developing and developed countries. The layering and transparency reflects the need to work together and build together to become a whole. The use of bright white is to shine light on the sometimes 'blinding' separation and gaps surrounding International Development, but when focused on for a long enough period of time with an open eye and mind, the blinding light begins to fade and the colours begin to blend together and shine equally. Above the abstraction of colours are star constellations, flight routes and road maps, placed equally through out the painting to represent the ability to link, connect the dots and join together to provide access and communication around the world. 'Shine Through' was created to bring awareness in an positive light, giving the viewer an abstract way to look at Global Development.
My experience in my own life is when there are difficult moments, I look at nature and it inspires me. I think to myself, if delicate flowers and gentle grass can survive harsh temperature conditions, drought and all the pollution around them, so can we. There is a parallel in this - for children who have challenging situations to face. Since, their heart is so pure. It is from their pure hearts that they will have the strength to reach their highest potential, if they are just given a little bit of encouragement and consistent support.
Nature gives me inspiration and strength.