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Children's Memory Portrait Competition

By Peter Perez, 2011-09-10
Peter Perez, artist and cultural historian, will be coming to the October general meeting of the Arts Council bringing his insights into The Day of The Dead.

He is also here publicizing the annual Children's Day of the Dead Art Competition. Details here. The images here are from last year's compeition.

Time to get the kids involved -- the closing date for entries is September 21st.

Peter writes: I started the competition in Petaluma (just north of San Francisco) for the Day of the Dead celebration there, and to get young people involved in learning a bit more about their own history. So many of us do not know much about our heritage and cultural roots. True, most know the Grandparents or maybe even the Great Grandparents, but that's about it. By finding out about our roots and where we came from it helps to understand who we are.


Click this image to enlarge it.

As described below, "Draw a portrait of someone important to you that has passed and why that person being honored had a impact on your young life." It does not necessarily have to be a person. One year the winner was a grade three student who drew a picture of goldfish bowl with a goldfish floating on top of the water, but the story was a touching farewell to " the first person she said good morning to and the last person she said good night to."

Other people and causes include, "Justice for the Women of Juarez", the casualties of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, rock stars, and heroes. The lesson is a respect for life and a better understanding of cultural traditions, death and loss.

At the bottom of my announcement to the teachers who have expressed interest, I mentioned that although there is a prize and " Emerging Artist Awards," I do not want the prize itelf to be the incentive to enter the competition. I would rather they do it from the heart and a true expression of something that has been lost and important to them. That is in keeping with the traditions of honoring the Dead - not for the prize - but because they were loved and dear.

Entries will be judged by art teachers and professional design artists, open to any elementary, middle and high school student.
1st, 2nd and 3rd places for each level. The overall winner will be selected for the three 1st Place winners. Closing date for entries: Sept 21st.

I have made presentations to the Oxford Academy, Sycamore JHS,the Anaheim Arts Council, and others, and will make a presentation if a school requests and time fits into the calendar. I have also forwarded the details and entry information to you with images and captions attached.

Images from Peter Perez



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