Two Seychellois shine in painting competition for African youths |14 September 2023
Two others receive tokens for participating
Two Seychellois youths, Natalie Joseph and Angela Marzocchi, have been rewarded for winning second and third prize respectively in a painting competition, ‘My Dream in Space’, organised by the People’s Republic of China for African youths.
The competition was launched following the first ever live conversation in September 2022, between African youths and three Chinese astronauts from China’s Shenzhou-14 spacecraft at the country’s space station.
The competition was China’s way of actively supporting the dreams of those African youths who have a strong interest in outer space and hope to one day explore the vast universe.
Ms Joseph with her painting titled ‘My Dream’ and Ms Marzocchi with hers titled ‘My dream in Space’, received their prizes during a ceremony held yesterday afternoon at the Chinese embassy, St Louis.
Present were the principal secretary for Education Services, Merna Eulentin; the principal secretary for Education Sector Development, John Lesperance; the chargé d'affaires of the Chinese embassy, Mu Jianfeng; students, teachers, staff of the embassy among other guests.
The painting competition attracted more than 2000 participants on the continent including four Seychellois students from the Seychelles Institute of Art and Design (SIAD). Among the entries, 50 managed to excel with 10 winning first prizes, 15 second prizes, and 25 third prizes.
“I am very happy to have won the second prize among the many young African participants. I was not expecting to reach that far and I am very proud of myself,” said 19-year-old Natalie Joseph, who noted it took her a week of hard thinking and preparations before she could start drawing.
She explained that she has used various natural things found in her environment to express the feeling of happiness, relaxation and joy.
“Through my painting, I wanted to show how dream and nature symbolise with peace and passion,” she said.
Angela Marzocchi also took a week to finish her art work stating she had to brainstorm to come up with colours as well as her goals and dream.
She explained that her painting, depicting a girl swinging as a metaphor for freedom, was based on her fantasies and serialism, where all the colours used have their meaning.
“It was quite a shock for me to learn I had won a prize considering a lot of other African youths were participating. On the whole, I feel very honoured and very happy to have won the prize.”
Addressing the gathering, chargé d'affaires Mu Jianfeng said he was very happy that two local participants have been able to win prizes at the competition.
He noted that although China and Seychelles are far apart, they both share the same common dream and are naturally bonded.
“Given the many participants in the competition, you have done a great job. It is really amazing in terms of the population. In my impression, here in the Seychelles, our young Seychellois friends, you are very talented,” he stated.
Mr Jianfeng also called on Seychellois youths to learn more about China and to participate in activities which links China, Africa and Seychelles together, and to study arts in China.
For her part, PS Eulentin thanked the People’s Republic of China through the Chinese embassy for its continued support and to be involved in the lives of young Seychellois to help build their character, self-esteem and for giving them the opportunity to discover the Chinese culture through various activities.
“This afternoon I am proud to say that the Chinese forms part of our village to raise our young Seychellois. On this note I would like to highlight the importance of good collaboration as it helps to elevate the standards and improve the way our team work together and solve problems. And this is what we want as a country, to increase success for our young dear youngsters and future generations,” said PS Eulentin.
During the ceremony, the guests also had the chance to watch a live dialogue between Chinese astronauts and African youths, where the ten winning paintings were shown onboard the China Space Station.
During yesterday’s event two other SIAD students who also took part in the competition, namely Joshua Nourrice with his painting ‘The Future Hope for the Extinct’ and Elisa Barbe with her work titled ‘Ocean of Stars’, were presented with a small token for their participation.