Drawing by a 12-year-old girl selected for World Peace Contest

12-year-old Alma Wanjiru, a student at Lions Junior Secondary School during the World Arts day at Nyayo Gardens in Nakuru City in April 15, 2023. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

A drawing by a 12-year-old girl from Nakuru will represent Africa at the Lions International Peace Poster Contest in New York.

Alma Wanjiru’s poster was selected for the world competition after she won the Kenyan competition early last year.

The Grade Seven pupil at Lions Junior Secondary also won the 2022-2023 East and Central Africa contest in November last year, in a category known as District 411A.

Wanjiru was among the artists celebrated in Nakuru during World Arts Day.

Aggrieved by the war between Ukraine and Russia that began in February 2022, Wanjiru took her pencil, paint, paintbrush and a manila paper and rushed to her school’s art room to draw.

The girl drew a poster prototype of a white dove comforting the earth and on the back side of the dove, a war scene between Russia and Ukraine.

“It took me about five months to finish the prototype and I had not planned to draw the real poster until I heard about the competition,” she said.

In July last year, the Lions Clubs International organised a poster contest under the theme Lead with Compassion.

Participants were given three months to prepare their posters and submit them by September 23, 2022.

The club instructed participants to do a 2D piece on a manila paper, without using any words.

Wanjiru, who had begun her work which fell under the theme of the club, decided to finish the poster, before submitting it.

The poster seen by The Saturday Standard, shows a white dove hugging the earth, while in the background darkness and fire cover a city.

In November, Wanjiru was informed by the club via a call that her painting had won both Kenya and East and Central Africa contests.

The girl was later invited to give a speech about her work at the annual Lions Club meeting with the United Nations on February 9, this year.

The meeting was attended by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Lion’s Club President Brian Sheehan, and other stakeholders from Kenya and abroad.

“I gave a speech about my work and how proud I was to have won the contest,” she said.

The girl, however, did not know that her poster had been submitted to the world contest in New York. She said she was informed early this month.

Wanjiru is waiting for the final judgment of the painting within a month’s time. She will be competing with artists from Europe, Asia, and North and South America.

She was only four when she developed an interest in drawings. Wanjiru knew she would have a passion for drawing when she was still in nursery school.

She said her passion was so deep that she began to draw and paint her favourite characters in her best cartoon programmes.

“My mother saw my interest in drawings and she bought me marker pens and pencils to help me with my work. She also enrolled me in art classes when I joined Primary school,” she said.

She said prior to the contest she had participated in a Kenya National Library competition but did not win it.

She added that she also took part in school and class competitions against her classmates. The drawings were judged by their art teacher.