Children’s Voices is an exhibition of drawings, paintings and linocuts made by children of the Brisbane region in 1997 for the First Australasian Conference on the Rights of the Child, held in Brisbane at the Queensland University of Technology. The children’s work toured Australia for three years, and is now part of the SLQ collection in the Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM Children’s Art Archive. The images are powerful, and each picture illustrates a child’s view of the articles that make up the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child including the right to play and recreation, education, home, family and the right to protection from poverty, war, slavery, labour, neglect and abuse.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most ratified piece of international law in the world. UNICEF views the Convention as a cross-cultural moral minimum for children, and as applicable in all the diverse societies of our world.
Rights carry responsibilities – for everyone. Children are expected to participate in society and to show respect for those who care for them. Adults are responsible for creating respectful relationships with children and for acting as champions in matters relating to children. Governments are responsible for acting in the best interests of children since children’s rights are a legal obligation, not simply matter of charity or compassion.
The exhibition celebrates the 2013 Children’s Week theme of the right to play, as defined in Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child:
State Parties (Australia) shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.
The exhibition is hosted by State Library of Queensland and supported by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian. Thank you to the children, staff and parents who participated in this project long ago. Your messages are still strong and meaningful.
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