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Por Rahul Mukherji
Sep 12th, 2019

The result of this third edition of Expression is once again VERY IMPRESSIVE. Congratulations to the team that works so hard to organise this programme. I am so happy to see that you have been able to give longevity to this beautiful project, which is inspiring for children and adults alike.” – Ms. Maria Bogner, Head of IOC Olympic Studies Centre, Lausanne, Switzerland.

St. Lawrence High School, Kolkata in association with St. Lawrence Old Boy’s Association (SLOBA) had celebrated Olympic Day on June 20, 2019, by organizing a painting competition called Expression 2019 to promote Olympic values, sport, peace and environmental awareness to school children around the world. Expression started in 2017, celebrated its third successful year.  (23 June being a Sunday, it was celebrated on 20 June)

The theme for this year’s competition was ‘Sport-Environment-Peace’ (emphasis on the Olympic Games and the Environment).  A sound body in sound mind, involved in any sports, always depends on the environment. Therefore, promoting the environment through sports makes it easier to educate children on the importance of environmental sustainability. Even in the Olympic Charter, it is mentioned to organize green Olympic games to promote environmental sustainability.

There is no better way to encourage a child’s self-expression than art. Through the event, we are also celebrating the Olympic spirit of friendship and bringing together people from different spheres,” Father Sebastian James, the principal of St Lawrence.

Expression 2019 had to been broadly divided into two categories. In the first category, was live-painting for schools in Kolkata on June 20th at St. Lawrence High School. In the second category, which was non-live painting wherein schools around the world had to send their entries by July 16th.

Ms. Diane de Navacelle, the great-great grand niece of the Father of Modern Olympics- Pierre de Fredy, Baron de Coubertin was the Chief Guest and represented Association Familiale Pierre De Coubertin. Ms. Diane is also an artist and a member of Olympic Art in the International Olympic Committee.

Olympian and artist Mr. Roald Bradstock, who is better known as the “Olympic Picasso” was the brand ambassador for Expression 2019 who is also a member of the Olympic Culture and Heritage Commission.

Mr. Noomi Mehta president of the Indian Rugby Football Union along with his wife Ms. Prochy Mehta was also present.

It is also noteworthy to mention that this year marks the 125th anniversary of Pierre De Coubertin’s famous speech at the Sorbonne and the opening of the new International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne. The school students planned to create a huge collage of  Pierre De Coubertin on the school football and cricket field during the event.

Around 400 students of the school, each holding a placard, stood in a formation to create a giant poster of the Father of Modern Olympics- Pierre de Fredy, Baron de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee on the school field. They also made a formation to show the Olympic rings and the torch.

It was Coubertin’s dream to marry the aesthetic with the athletic. We are celebrating that dream,” said Mr. Bradstock who is also part of the Olympic Art project of the International Olympic Committee.

You can watch the video here.

Mr. Bradstock created a new World Record by clicking 192 selfies in three minutes with the students and Ms. Diane in the school ground.

Mr. Bradstock along with Ms. de Navacelle, students, staff, teaching, and non-teaching, planted a sapling in the school premises to show support for the environment. This would stand as a reminder that as much as we love sports and supporting our favorite athletes, we must also spare a thought for the environment and we must learn to conserve what seeks to sustain us.

Mr. Bradstock flagged off the competition by putting paints on the canvas. More than 2000 students participated from 12 schools in Kolkata. Expression 2019 received more than 300 paintings from around the world, the participation touched all the continents.

Expression 2019 Top Participating Schools were:

  • St. Aloysius Gonzaga School from  Mangaluru, India
  • Colegio Mateus Ricci from Macau, China
  • St. Aloysius College from Milsons Point, Australia
  • Xavier College from Burke Hall, Australia
  • Javier Special Education Unit from Guayaquil, Ecuador
  • Sacred Heart School from Ateneo de Cebu Cebu, Philippines
  • Santa Luisa School from Bogota, Colombia.

The Syrian children from Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan need a special mention, they are related to Peace and Sport and the Live Together project

Please find the results of Expression 2019 here.

Special thanks to the panel of our jury:

  1. Ms. Iris Vlachoutsicos. Director, International Relations & Sport Diplomacy at Peace and Sport, Monaco.
  2. Ms. Daria Obratov. Croatian luger. She competed in the women’s singles event at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
  3. Ms. Piali Syam. Director, Special Projects, Curator (Fine Arts), Colours of Life, Mumbai, India
  4. Ms. Prochy Mehta. Director – One Ad Display, Selvel One, Kolkata, India. She is also a former Indian athlete and represented India in international Masters meet.
  5. Mr. Sidhartha Roy. Chief Executive Officer, Response India Private Limited (Advertising agency), Kolkata, India. Past President, Advertising Club of Calcutta.
  6. Fr Shaju Joseph, SJ. Jesuit priest, Kolkata, India

It was hard to even grade these amazing paintings since each and every one of these children put a piece of themselves into their work, in its way every painting is unique, beautiful and sends an important message. Congrats to all the amazing children who were part of this contest and just like the Olympic spirit says, I want to tell them that it is not important who wins but to be a part of something special and send a message to the world just like they all did! With love, Daria”  — Ms. Daria Obratov OLY.

We value the support received from The Ambassador of Greece in India, The Olympic Studies Centre (IOC, Lausanne), The Olympic Museum (IOC, Lausanne), World Anti-Doping Agency, Hockey India, The International Olympic Truce Centre, Truce Foundation of the U.S.A , sportanddev.org, Art of the Olympians, Olympians Association of India,  Olympic Studies Center J.A. Samaranch of the Fundació Barcelona Olímpica, Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU), Yunus Sports Hub and Association Familiale Pierre de Coubertin in last three years.

Peace and SportEducate MagisAir India partnered us for ‘Expression 2019′.

This year it was very special. A few St. Lawrence High School students went to Mentaid, Kolkata, with the idea to participate with kids who are physically or intellectually challenged. The Olympic movement and sports teach inclusion, about coming together, we are happy that St. Lawrence High School students made these children part of ‘Expression’. The event just moved a few steps forward. In the coming years, Expression is sure to move Faster, Higher and Stronger and will touch many more children.

To see more pictures of Expression 2019 follow this link.

Well done Team Expression!