Getting creative is a great way children can find their voice on big issues. This year, thousands of children have made artworks to celebrate the animals and plants they love. But their message is one for the adults.
When 10-year-old Scarlett Pawson sat down to paint her entry for this years’ Wild At Art threatened species art competition she was thinking back to the bushfires more than a year ago, and the already vulnerable Australian animals so severely impacted by these fires.
“I decided to paint three baby animals in handmade pouches. I painted a wombat, a brush-tailed rock wallaby and a koala,” she explained.
Photo: Tayna Pawson
“Last year during the Black Summer bushfires I felt very sad about all the animals who were injured and died. My brother and I learnt how to use the sewing machine and we made lots of pouches for the baby animals. I made a pouch with the message ‘GET WELL SOON, LOVE SCARLETT’.
“When Covid hit, people forgot about all the animals who got harmed and who are still hurting from bushfires. I made this artwork to remind everyone there are animals who are still injured. I hope my painting will inspire people to keep protecting our wonderful wildlife,” says Scarlett.
Photo: Tayna Pawson
Scarlett is one of many children who have submitted their art as part of Wild At Art: an Australian art competition for kids. The competition invites children aged 5–12 to highlight Australia’s extinction crisis and the threats facing our wildlife, through their art.
It might sound like a heavy issue for kids to tackle but it’s one many children care deeply about. Some kids across the country are already worried about losing our unique animals and plants.
Creating an artwork that shows a threatened plant or animal they love helps them give voice to this issue in a creative way.
“It lets children like me express our feelings. We can’t vote, we can’t give suggestions to our government. But we can build awareness throughout the art,” says Scarlett.
“I feel our government isn’t doing enough to protect our wildlife. Those animals have no voice … it is our responsibility to speak up so our government does something about it.”
"Leadbeater’s possums are so tiny and cute but there’s not many left in the wild. Humans and bushfires are destroying their homes. In the painting the possum lives on the last tree and misses her family. When I grow up I could be a possum expert scientist and make potions to save them." — Alice, 6.
“I chose the Wollemi Pine because it is from when the dinosaurs were alive and is more than 90 million years old. It has interesting shapes in its branches.” — Eleanor, 5.
“Weedy sea dragons lose their habitats mostly due to human action and habitat loss. I live near Cabbage Tree Bay in Manly NSW where they nest but I have not seen any yet easily while snorkelling. Marine scientists are building seahorse hotels all around Sydney for the endangered White seahorse. I hope it will create awareness to how vulnerable all seahorse’s are.” — Elizabeth, 10.
“I love frogs because they are so cute. Their sleepy eyes and round fingers are my favorite. Green spotted frogs with lily pads are one of the most peaceful scenes I have ever seen. When is the last time you listened to the croaking of frogs? 30% of 240 species of frogs are endangered already which is a huge amount and so sad. In the last couple of years about 51 million frogs were killed by bushfire which has shown how vulnerable they are. We should protect frogs, stop climate change and keep their habitats before they become extinct. All frog-related memory is precious, including mine. Frogs must be inherited.“ — Hubert, 8.
“I chose the flying fox because it is a cool animal which does not deserve to go extinct. It is harmless to most creatures and looks awesome. Did you know that some flying foxes have a wingspan of 1.5 meters (5 feet)? They can also live for around 12-15 years. Sometimes they can also live for 30 years. Flying foxes are currently endangered because of snakes, birds of prey and humans.” — Jungwoon (Andrew), 11.
Wild At Art is back in 2022! Read more about the competition and get involved.