Kolkata girl wins international drawing competition

Kolkata: A 13-year-old girl from Kolkata has won an international drawing competition in Italy for her entry which pays tribute to her teacher.

The watercolour painting "Teacher, close to the nature" by Neha Ray, who studies in standard eight at the South Point High School, was awarded the first prize among 8,832 drawings from all over the world.

The 11th edition of the `Diritti a Colori`, one of the world`s largest drawing competitions, was held recently at the Italian city of Mantova, a spokesperson of the organisers Malagutti Foundation said.

With a green and natural landscape, her painting shows children sitting outside a grey building and reading books. Next to them is a teacher looking at them in a friendly way.

"It is my tribute to teachers who bring us close to nature by educating us. Without education, those in the city cannot come close to nature," Neha, who lives at Santoshpur in the southern fringes of the city.

Along with her parents, she has been invited by the organisers of the contest for a week-long sojourn in Italy later this month. Thousands of children from countries like Italy, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam had participated in the competition.

By collaborating with international humanitarian associations, schools, libraries and foreign institutions, the International Drawing Competition also involved many children living in the poorest countries of the world and those countries where children have been living in a state of difficulty and unease.

"Through this competition, we aim at sensitising institutional authorities in order to focus the attention on children`s needs," said a spokesperson of the organisers.

This is not a flash-in-the pan achievement for Neha. A child prodigy with a natural talent for sketching, she had won the first prize in International Environmental Children’s Drawing Contest held in Japan last year.

Neha was also awarded by the Czech Republic for one of her works. One of her drawings was put on display at an exhibition at the national museum in Prague in 2010. Neha`s father Amit Ray said, "Painting is her passion and so we have always encouraged her and tried to nurture her talent. Whenever she has time, she starts drawing sketches."