Stamp of approval

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 August, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 August, 2004, 12:00am

Budding painter Cherry Li Tsz-wai is the first Hong Kong citizen to create artwork that will be used for a special stamp set the United Nations is issuing to mark the International Day of Peace on September 21.

Cherry's work was selected from 24 finalists' entries to appear on the cover of the stamp set. Another six designs - from Thailand, the Philippines, Israel, Belize, Indonesia and Peru - will be used for the stamps making up the set.

There were 330,000 entries from more than 60 countries.

'I am really happy that my painting has been chosen as the cover,' said the Year Nine student at Yew Chung International School. 'I hope people from different countries will join together to make the dream of peace come true.'

Using watercolours and an airbrush, Cherry created a strong message for co-operation by using four pigeons to represent different ethnicities.

'The pigeons and the yellow lines in the middle form a human head. The Earth is the brain. It looks like the brain is spinning and that the person is dreaming about people on this planet joining hands to maintain world peace,' the 15-year-old said. 'My idea came after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, as well as the US-Iraqi war. I sincerely hope people can make an effort to understand other's needs and situations. Problems should be solved through dialogues, instead of violent acts.'

In 2001, the UN General Assembly decided that September 21 should be observed as the international day of peace. Nations the world over are asked to mark the day as one of global ceasefire and non-violence - an invitation to all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities.

For three years, the UN Postal Administration will mark international peace day with a stamp set issued in several currencies and denominations, starting this year.

All member states, organisations of the UN system, regional and non-governmental organisations and individuals are invited to observe the day in the strongest way possible, including through education and public awareness, as well as to co-operate with the UN in establishing a global ceasefire.

The award was the third major one Cherry has won in two months - she came third last month in the secondary school category of the UN's international poster contest for youth with her theme of marine turtle protection.

She recently won a silver medal in an international art contest for children organised out of India. That contest attracted 160,000 entries from over 130 nations.

Cherry's painting portrayed Chinese icons such as lion and dragon dances, firecrackers, the Tin Hau Temple and Chinese opera.