The award ceremony for the 2018-2019 Student Painting Competition was held with great success and with the participation of dozens of students from schools across the country, at the NJV Athens Plaza hotel, on Monday, 22 April 2019.

The competition, organised for the fourth consecutive year by the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation in cooperation with the Children’s Gallery of Greece, was dedicated this year to Human Rights and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Universal Proclamation on Human Rights, which was celebrated throughout the world in 2018.

Welcoming students, parents and teachers, the President of the Foundation and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mrs Marianna V. Vardinoyannis thanked everyone for their participation and underlined the value of familiarising children with the concept of human rights: “Human rights are at the heart of our Foundation’s activity, through all the years of its operation. Our priority has been to familiarise children with them, since they are the hope of mankind and the protagonists in a future of peace, understanding, solidarity and love. Again this year, we received hundreds of beautiful works from every corner of Greece! Small masterpieces expressing the talent of the children and the exceptional guidance from their teachers and their parents. For us, all the students are winners, because the effort, the participation, the joy of creation and the time they put into it are what is important.”

Mrs Vardinoyannis also announced the next Student Painting Competition for the 2019-2020 school year, which will be dedicated to the tragic destruction of Notre Dame. The subject is “People and their Monuments,” and it will help raise youth awareness of the need to protect and safeguard World Heritage Monuments.

After that, the talented painter Shanna Ingram Papademos, wife of former Prime Minister Loukas Papadimos, the distinguished art historian-art critic Dr Dora Ilipoulou Rogan and the Director of the Children’s Gallery of Greece, Mrs Ekaterini Leggou, talked to the children about the value of art, congratulating them on their remarkable effort. The floor was then taken by the Director of the Art Programme of the “B & M Foundation for the Fine Arts,” Mr. Takis Mavrotas, who introduced the keynote speaker of the event, internationally acclaimed sculptor Mrs Vana Xenou.

In her speech, Mrs Xenou talked to the children about art, particularly noting the power of the artworks created by children. “Once again I saw that we can be taught new things by children! They powerfully link the past to the future, drawing from the deepest sources of creation,” Mrs Xenou noted.

The awards were then given out to the children whose works were selected by the panel of judges. In the 1st and 2nd grade category, the prizes were given to: Thania Gitsa (Mantoulidis Schools), Sokratis Bafitis (Rhodes College), Ioanna Siska (Primary School of loutro Amfilochia), in the 3rd and 4th grade category: Efrosyni Vergitsi (International School of Athens), Kyriaki Moschovaki (1st Experimental Primary School of Thessaloniki), Maria Karatasou (23rd Primary School of Heraklion Crete), in the 5th and 6th grade category: Paraskevi Siampani (4th Primary School of Livadeia), Manya Daoula (International School of Athens) and to the group artwork of the students: Elena Abueid, Maria Bouzaranidis, Rodion Kyronen, Ross Uriel (International School of Athens). All works that won awards were included in the Christmas card of the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation, and the winners received a collectible engraving that was kindly donated by scultpor Vana Xenou.

Commemorative certificates were awarded to 35 more students whose works reached the final phase of the Competition. The fact that the Commemorative Certificates were handed out by Mrs Vardinoyannis and the winner of the first Student Art Competition, Thanasis Sotiropoulos, was particularly touching.