Paintings by African teenagers to be exhibited in China's space station, sow seeds of science, friendship, dreams

Release date Jun. 17, 2023, 10:40 am EDT
Beijing, China
Paintings by African teenagers to be exhibited in China's space station, sow seeds of science, friendship, dreams
Photo shows the painting that won the Tianhe Award in the "My Dream" Painting Competition for African Youth by Nigerian Prosper Sania Dania. (Photo provided by Prosper Sania Dania)

Ten paintings by teenagers from 10 African countries were carried to space with the three taikonauts.

The 10 paintings were awarded entries in the "My Dream" Painting Competition for African Youth, which was co-hosted by the secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the China Manned Space Engineering Office and some Chinese embassies and consulates in African countries. The competition received drawings from 2,000 African youths.

The 10 entries won the Tianhe Award, which is named after the core module of China's space station, and flew into space together with the Shenzhou-16 crew. They will be exhibited in the space station.

"I'm just a normal youth from rural Nigeria. I never thought that my drawing could be taken to space by a Chinese spaceship and exhibited to the whole world. It's wonderful," said 20-year-old Nigerian Prosper Sania Dania.

The theme of the competition was mankind's dream of exploring the vast universe. In Dania's painting, a round pattern comprised of the national flags of Nigeria and China is displayed, symbolizing the friendship and solidarity between the two countries.

"Mankind has always been aspiring to explore the universe, and young Africans are no exception. China has made tremendous achievements in aerospace. The pioneering spirit of Chinese taikonauts is encouraging African adolescents to chase their space dream," Dania said, explaining the idea and inspiration of his work.

He told People's Daily that he was deeply touched by the remarks by Chinese taikonaut Jing Haipeng that the space exhibition will sow the seeds of science, friendship, and dreams on the China Space Station.

Jing's story of chasing dreams in space also made the young African realize that it's important for young people to not only have a dream, but also work for it, Dania said.

"I know that many cooperation platforms built by China have been supporting young Africans to show their creativity, though I've never been to the country. China and Nigeria, as well as other African countries, share development opportunities for progress and prosperity. I hope I can join a postgraduate program in China to realize my dream," the young man noted.

Hope Mafiko, an 18-year-old from Zimbabwe, is another winner of the Tianhe Award. After learning that his work was going to space, he immediately shared the excitement and joy with his family and friends.

In Mafiko's painting, which is abundantly covered by green and dotted with yellow and red, two African women are looking up to the sky, expressing mankind's aspiration for the universe.

"Green, yellow and red are colors that typically represent Africa," Mafiko said, adding that he hopes the painting can mirror Africans' passion for exploring the vast universe.

The young man was touched by the greetings that Chinese taikonauts made to African adolescents. "It was very heartwarming to hear such kind words. Many young people are being inspired by moments like these and hopefully become a generation of visionaries," he said.

Distribution channels: Aerospace Arts
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