Creativity for Sustainability: Young Malaysians Become Catalyst for Change

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Faber-Castell’s Young Artist Award
Group photo of the finalists cheering in excitement after receiving their trophies.

Sustainability is an increasingly important worldwide issue. In today’s environment, raising young Malaysians in a space that provides them with the correct information about sustainability is crucial.

In research by the Department of Environment Malaysia, environmental education programmes should be a continuous lifelong process beginning at the pre-school level and continuing through all stages. With that, Faber-Castell’s Young Artist Award programme was designed to empower children to start taking small steps to nurture our planet and drive change.

Getting creative with how we teach sustainability is the key to keeping children curious and engaged. It is a vital and powerful 21st-century skill which plays an essential role within the school environment and beyond. As a continuing effort to contribute to the overall creative and sustainable behaviour development of young children, Faber-Castell’s Young Artist Award 2022 encourages children to put on their creative hats and learn about sustainability through art. Dubbed the nation’s most prestigious and biggest colouring contest, the second edition, themed “A Greener Nature, A Better Future”, received over 20,000 submissions from students between 5 to 8 years old (Category A) and 9 to 12 years old (Category B). 

Throughout the programme, the children were guided, inspired, and equipped with invaluable knowledge, tutorials, materials, and creative skills such as blending, spatter, outlines and brush strokes − through a holistic learning syllabus in mini masterclasses by art experts. The top finalists also took a field trip to Aquaria KLCC to enhance and inspire their creativity. The students then demonstrated their techniques during the Young Artist Award colouring contest, with different topics on sustainability.

Mr Andrew Woon, Managing Director of Faber-Castell Malaysia said, “The future is in the hands and voices of our children. We will continue to play our role and give these young Malaysians the space to showcase their creativity and become changemakers. We need to bring sustainability into our children’s lives and support their creative interests in the process – with a dream that they will grow happily, live sustainably, and that some of them will become future stewards of sustainability.”  

When 12-year-old Kaden Yap Kai Tehn from SJK (C) Yuk Chai was revealed as the Grand Winner of Category B, his mother shared, “Throughout this journey, Kaden has been determined and didn’t give up, regardless of how many times he needed to practice. We always encourage and coach him so that he can solve problems creatively. We also applaud the sustainability theme, which is in line with his school syllabus and has brought him closer to wildlife, flora & fauna, and marine life preservation topics. He is now a nature lover who takes recycling very seriously at home and even commits to not consuming any shark fin soup.” Returning Young Artist Award participant Lee Hao Xuan from SJK (C) Chio Min A, who emerged as the Category A Grand Winner, spent considerable time researching marine life and presenting his ideas through his artwork. He said, “Last year, I won third place, and this year, I’ve put in a lot harder work, practising intensely for this competition with more than 20 drawings. Arts has been my passion since I was four years old, and I’m happy that I can use the knowledge for something more educational and meaningful.”

Apart from the opportunity to showcase their skills and artwork while learning about environmental sustainability, the Grand Winners and the other top 10 students for both categories, received fabulous cash prizes, trophies, product hampers and certificates of participation.