International UN art exhibition celebrates water

Amy Niu
Amy Niu, a Grade 5 student at Shanghai Star River Bilingual School was fortunate to be chosen to have her art exhibited at the UN New York.
Amy Niu
Ti Gong

Amy Niu delivers a speech at the UN.

Water fosters nature, life and history, and bears the weight of the entire world. It is linked to us in so many ways that we can’t even begin to count.

Water created the world — it filled the desolate voids and transformed the plains into a verdant oasis, allowing the oceans to roar and the crops to flourish.

Water nurtures the world — it provides to all creations without prejudice, allowing the fertile Nile soil to lead tribes and clans into a new era of civilization.

Water enlightens the world — it’s kind and gentle. It wholeheartedly fosters the world while asking for nothing in return.

Water educates the world — great waves sweep away the sand and embraces all that exists. It is tolerant, accepting, active and joyful.

The theme of this year’s United Nations No Boundaries youth art exhibition in New York was “A Drop of Water.”

It connected children and teenagers all over the world, showing their observation of life and wishes toward the bright future through their artwork.

The young artists from different countries described their dreams in the language of art, aiming to call for people to be thankful for water, to care for water, and to protect water resources.

I was fortunate to be chosen to have my art exhibited at the UN New York, and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University.

International UN art exhibition celebrates water
Ti Gong

Amy Niu poses in front of the big screen of New York’s Times Square with one of her paintings.

International UN art exhibition celebrates water
Ti Gong

Amy Niu shows off her painting “The last drop of water”

My art piece is called “The last drop of water.” I arranged a strong comparison on my work of art. On the left, the sky is a vast deep blue, the ground is thriving with life, mountains are standing arrogantly and gorgeously in the distance, and raindrops are watering the ground. On the left, a small girl is crying, staring intently at a faucet that will never produce another drop of water. At this moment, cracks are running through dry mother Earth. The sky is gray, thunder is booming, raging, but not a drop of rain fell from the sky. My central idea is that if we keep wasting Earth’s resources then the last drop of water will be our tear.

Together with the rest of paintings around world, my painting was displayed on the big screen of Times Square. But the biggest memorable moment is the UN exhibition opening ceremony. I made a speech, called for everyone’s attention, to save water, save the Earth. It is not just because I could fluently express myself, but a 10-year-old girl’s voice, could be heard by the world.

Following is the speech I delivered at the UN.

“Imagine that hundreds of people around the world are dying because of famine. Who is going to give food, water, and shelter to the people?

The United Nations are a league of many countries bonding together to make peace throughout the world.

Established in 1919 under the treaty of Versailles, the UN developed to ensure international peace, human rights, deliver humanitarian aid, promote sustainable development, and uphold international laws.

We are at the United Nations because we want to be part of this world. We want to join the UN to help the citizens of poor areas access clean water, and have a nice home. We want to help those famines receive a good education; and help those of limited potential achieve their dreams. We want to help.

Why are we doing an activity about dreams? It is because of this — McDonald’s wants children to chase their dreams and follow their hearts. Everything is possible. Realize your personal legend. That is your mission on the Earth. McDonald’s are trying to let us draw out our dreams and help us achieve it. That’s why we have flown thousands of miles to be here, at the UN, to let our dream come true.

Talking about realizing your personal dreams, I think we should also talk about the environment around us. Why are we here to do an activity about a drop of water?

Water is disappearing around us — The ozone layer is having more and more holes. The sun’s harmful rays are reaching the Earth without the ozone layer’s protection. Green house gases are rising into the atmosphere. Water is polluted. Sewage is dumped into rivers, ponds and streams. Pond habitats are overpopulated. Water, space and energy are hard to find. Animals are dying from eating plastics thrown into water, broken down into small pieces. .

I am Chinese, our ancient philosopher Laozi, used to express the value of water from ‘Daodejin’ (Tao and Teh):

‘The supreme goodness is like water. It benefits all things without contention. In dwelling it stays grounded. In being, it flows to the depths. In expression, it is honest. In confrontation, it stays gentle. In governance it does not control. In action it aligns to timing. It is content with its nature. Therefore, it cannot be faulted.’

The highest kindness is also water. That is why we are celebrating it for the earth, for the heart.

Ladies and gentlemen, save water, save our earth, otherwise, the last of drop of water is our tears.”

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