Hidden Wonders Revealed: Youth Art Exhibit Debuts on the Peace Boat

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On Sunday, June 16, I had the incredible opportunity to represent the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation on the Peace Boat’s ship, the MV Pacific World, which docked in New York City to celebrate the United Nations World Oceans Day. This year’s theme, “Awaken New Depths,” set the stage for an event hosted by Peace Boat in partnership with various UN bodies and partners, such as ourselves, focusing on ocean and climate action. It was an inspiring experience to be a part of this event and an honor to showcase the remarkable talents of young artists through our Science Without Borders® Challenge.

We set up our “Hidden Wonders of the Deep” exhibit for the event, featuring outstanding artwork from the 2024 Science Without Borders® Challenge. I couldn’t be prouder to show off the winning entries, chosen from over 1,700 submissions spanning 82 countries. Through art, our annual international contest engages primary and secondary students aged 11-19 in ocean science and conservation issues. This year’s theme invited students to submit artwork depicting the mysterious and unique deep-sea creatures or ecosystems, highlighting the deep ocean’s often unseen beauty and diversity.

As I introduced the art exhibit to the audience, revealing that they were created by students as young as 11 years old, the viewers were visibly shocked and amazed. Witnessing such inspiring reactions from people of all ages reaffirmed the powerful impact of the artwork. These positive affirmations make me incredibly proud, knowing that the talents of these young artists can touch hearts and inspire change across generations.

Amy Heemsoth, COO and Director of Education at the foundation, prepares to provide insights into the “Hidden Wonders of the Deep” exhibit and introduces the student winner to the audience.

This event marked the debut of exhibiting the students’ artwork, and I plan to display it at other locations worldwide to continue spreading ocean awareness through art. The response from the audience was overwhelming. Many people expressed astonishment at the high quality and profound messages conveyed by the young artists.

One of our Science Without Borders® Challenge winners, Jenny Xu, our third-place winner for Ages 15-19, attended the event, providing a personal connection to the art. Reflecting on the experience, the young artist stated, “The genuine splendor of the ship amazed me. I’ve never been on a boat of such size, and this was a very unique and special experience. Watching the presentations, I realized there are so many amazing people doing incredible things.

Jenny’s excitement was unmistakable: “I didn’t think it would be possible to have my artwork showcased next to such amazing artists. It was definitely an exhilarating experience. I’m so happy to have attended and witnessed the immense talent on board.

Our exhibit on the Peace Boat was more than just a beautiful art display—it was a call to action. It celebrated our oceans’ beauty and underscored the urgent need for innovative solutions and global cooperation to protect our marine environments for future generations. This event blended science, art, and activism, showing how each can contribute to a sustainable and vibrant future for our oceans. Being part of such an impactful event reaffirmed our mission’s importance and highlighted the incredible impact we can achieve through collaboration and creativity.

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