Naperville Student Awarded Special Mention in UNHCR Art Contest

Art Contest
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Napervillian Awarded in UNHCR Art Contest

17-year-old Neuqua Valley High School student, Kaitlyn Zhou, was awarded a “special mention” in a contest run by the UN Refugee Agency.

The UNHCR’s first Youth With Refugees art contest encouraged young people aged 12-25 to reflect creatively on the theme: everyone counts in the fight against coronavirus, including refugees.

“I was very excited to receive this recognition, especially since I’m able to use my art to advocate for current issues around the world regarding COVID-19 and refugees,” said Zhou. “And it truly means a lot to me that I’m able to inspire hope and unity and raise awareness through a passion that I really enjoy.”

Zhou’s watercolor painting was chosen from 2,000 submissions from around 100 countries. The UNHCR awarded seven global winners, five regional prizes, five awards for cartoons, and 20 special mentions. She’s the only U.S. winner.

Kaitlyn Zhou

Message of Artwork

Zhou said through her artwork, she wanted to show that everyone has a role to play during the fight against COVID-19.

“Whether they’re healthcare workers, essential workers, volunteers, or other people who are staying at home spreading awareness. Many of these roles are fulfilled by refugees as well,” said Zhou. “So we need everyone to come together to support each other during this difficult time.”

The young artist plans on participating in the art contest again next year.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.