An Educator’s Call for Artworks by Children From Around the World Reveals What Kids Are Really Thinking About Under Lockdown

An online exhibition features works by 60 children from seven countries.

An image from the show, titled
An image from the show, titled "Born Artists." Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.

What’s life in lockdown like for children? A new virtual show of artworks by kids from around the world is offering a glimpse.

The exhibition, titled “Born Artists,” is organized by Qinghua Chen, a graduate student in early childhood education at the University of Buffalo who first became interested in children’s art when she saw how much her five-year-old daughter loved drawing.

With children around the world at home, Chen reached out to families asking them to send drawings their kids made in response to the present moment.

“Children are born artists. They have striking inspirations,” Chen told the University of Buffalo.

She received 100 artworks by 60 children in seven countries, all living in China or of Chinese descent. The artists range from preschoolers to middle schoolers. Each work is on view on the website for the International Cross-Cultural and Communication Center for Children.

These budding artists have explored a wide range of media, from crayons and papier-mâché, to performance art and collage. Many works reflect their personal experiences being stuck at home, separated from friends and attending school online in the age of self isolation. Some images are made as thank-yours to doctors and healthcare workers, or to express how much the artists miss going to school.

Others are more imaginative, or focus on nature. For her part, Chen’s daughter contributed a cheerful message celebrating the start of spring, formed from dandelion and buttercup stems and blossoms.

“I hope people can be inspired by these little artists and be cheered up by their great art pieces,” Chen said.

The online art show follows in-person exhibitions of children’s art that Chen previously staged at local libraries, including one most recently in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

See more works from the show and a video about the exhibition below.

Qinghua Chen curated "Born Artists," an online exhibition of works created by children during lockdown. Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.

Qinghua Chen curated “Born Artists,” an online exhibition of works created by children during lockdown. Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.

Qinghua Chen curated "Born Artists," an online exhibition of works created by children during lockdown. Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.

Qinghua Chen curated “Born Artists,” an online exhibition of works created by children during lockdown. Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.

Qinghua Chen curated "Born Artists," an online exhibition of works created by children during lockdown. Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.

Qinghua Chen curated “Born Artists,” an online exhibition of works created by children during lockdown. Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.

Qinghua Chen curated "Born Artists," an online exhibition of works created by children during lockdown. Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.

Qinghua Chen curated “Born Artists,” an online exhibition of works created by children during lockdown. Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.

Qinghua Chen curated "Born Artists," an online exhibition of works created by children during lockdown. Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.

Qinghua Chen curated “Born Artists,” an online exhibition of works created by children during lockdown. Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.

Qinghua Chen curated "Born Artists," an online exhibition of works created by children during lockdown. Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.

Qinghua Chen curated “Born Artists,” an online exhibition of works created by children during lockdown. Courtesy of Qinghua Chen.


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