Peace tree art competition

Morven Eaton, Shaun Morgan, Provost Helen Moonie and Consul-General of Japan in Edinburgh, Mr Nozomu Takaoka.
Morven Eaton, Shaun Morgan, Provost Helen Moonie and Consul-General of Japan in Edinburgh, Mr Nozomu Takaoka.

Drawings created by two young South Ayrshire artists will travel 6,000 miles to Hiroshima in Japan later this year to spread a message of peace, hope and love.

The drawings by 14-year-old Marr College students Morven Easton and Shaun Morgan were selected as the top two in a South Ayrshire schools art competition celebrating peaceful towns.

The competition, supported by South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie, was inspired by ginko tree ‘peace seeds’ donated to South Ayrshire by Mayors for Peace, an international organisation created in Hiroshima in 1982 in response to the deaths of around 140,000 people following the atomic bombing of the city on 6 August 1945. It brings together cities and places dedicated to the promotion of peace.

The bombing reduced the city to ashes but the trees that had been devastated by the bomb sprouted buds from their burnt trunks, and became a symbol of hope and courage.

After a number of seeds from the A-bombed trees were presented to South Ayrshire’s provost last year the Peaceful Towns art competition saw young artists from each council ward become ‘guardians’ of the peace trees currently in Bellisle Conservatory. The trees will be planted in local communities in the names of the winning artists: winning artist in the Maybole, North Carrick and Coylton ward was 11 year old Cadhla Carter from Straiton Primary and 10 year old Ammie Cloan from Maidens Primary was the winner in the Girvan and South Carrick ward.

The winners were presented with their peace tree sapling, a certificate and a goodie bag at a special ceremony at Belleisle Conservatory by Provost Moonie, local councillors and Consul-General of Japan in Edinburgh, Mr Nozomu Takaoka.

Later this year Morven and Shaun’s drawings will make the 6,000-mile journey to Hiroshima courtesy of Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra, who performed at the presentation ceremony. The orchestra is touring Japan in the summer and will have the honour of playing at the Children’s Peace Memorial in the Hiroshima Peace Park – the first musicians to do so.

The orchestra has commissioned a special piece of music that will be played as a lament for the children of Hiroshima and what they suffered following the dropping of the A-bomb.

On behalf of the people of South Ayrshire, Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra will present Morven’s drawing to the Mayor of Hiroshima, and Shaun’s to the Secretariat of Mayors for Peace.

Provost Moonie said: “Our young people really took the peaceful towns theme to heart and my sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to take part in the competition. The entries were very impressive and I can assure you it wasn’t at all easy to pick the winners.

“I’m very proud that each of our winners now has one of the peace tree saplings named after them. These will be planted in their wards, a few years from now, when they are ready to leave the nurture and care of the conservatory.

“This will help create a long-lasting legacy of peace across South Ayrshire – in the names of the young artists – who will become the guardians of the trees. I hope they will grow into the peacemakers of tomorrow just as their trees will grow into strong symbols of peace.

“I’m also humbled that the two overall winning drawings will be taken to Hiroshima, taking that message of peace full circle. My thanks to our friends in the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra for agreeing to take on this task and I wish them all the very best for the tour.

“I have no doubt the performance in the Peace Park will be a breath-taking one by the children of Ayrshire for the children of Hiroshima. This will further strengthen our links with Japan and I’m delighted that Mr Takaoka could join us to share in the presentation ceremony and share in this celebration of peace, art, culture and friendship.”

Nozomu Takaoka, Consul-General of Japan in Edinburgh, added: “It is a pleasure to see so many young people inspired by the principle of global peace to create such beautiful works of art.

“I am reassured that the next generation will strive for cooperation instead of conflict and that the planting of peace seeds from Hiroshima in South Ayrshire will leave a long-lasting legacy”.

The 18 winning Peaceful Towns works of art will be displayed at Rozelle House Galleries during the Easter school holidays, allowing the message of peace to be shared with local people and visitors alike.