Summer/Fall 2006 - Mercury 2006

Student art from Slovenia. Photo: Bob Rashid.

Through the Eyes of Young People

In a new initiative for the Madison conference on mercury, young people around the world created and submitted imaginative, vivid art work about mercury pollution.

Students from seven countries, aged 10 to 18, sent hundreds of pieces of beautiful, impressive, and often moving pieces of art they created after learning about mercury and mercury poisoning. The resulting collection was displayed in a video montage during the Opening Ceremony and then lined the corridors and public areas of the meeting space throughout the week.

Eight of the hundreds of pieces of art work submitted to the conference were chosen to be reproduced on T-shirts and sold at the conference. They sold so briskly that, on the third day, North American attendees were asked to postpone their purchases until after the conference (see back page for ordering information.)

Conference organizers conceived of the Youth Art Project as a way of educating young people throughout the world about the problem of mercury pollution that their generation will inherit. They studied the concepts in their classrooms and were then asked to use what they learned to create a piece of art work. In the end, however, it was a two-way flow of ideas, according to Nancy Hurley, who coordinated the project.

“While the intent was to teach the students, the organizers really learned from them, from seeing the world through their eyes and through their artwork,” Hurley said.

The project t-shirts, including two new designs not available at the conference, are now available for purchase by people worldwide at Proceeds from the shirt sales will be used to produce an educational booklet featuring the artwork.

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