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Contest about more than just art

A team including two students from Shanghai won the Platinum Prize at the second Art Talents Pop Up! Poemography Exp. 2010.

One hundred Shanghai students entered the four-month competition and 30 won tickets to Hong Kong for the six-day exchange camp this month.

The final winners and their art will be showcased in September in Hong Kong, and in Shanghai and Beijing the following month.

The exhibition will include the winner of the Entry Merit Prize, Outstanding Chinese Poem, Outstanding English Poem and Outstanding Photography. All submitted works have a chance to be exhibited.

Chen Mochuan, a 17-year-old high school student from Shanghai, and his partner and classmate Lu Jiaxi, are regarded as very talented students in the program.

Their six-member team, with two students each from Hong Kong and Beijing, won the Platinum Prize with their work, which is about the crazy pace of society and people's feedback after the earthquake.

"I like to observe the details in my life. When I take pictures, I prefer interesting people pictures rather than landscapes," Chen said.

Xu Anyu, a 14-year-old Shanghai student might be one of the youngest participants in this event.

Her team won the prize of "Outstanding Award for Chinese Poet." The team's poem "Day and Night" was about the busy lives of people in a hectic city.

"It's been a great experience for me," Xu said. "Being able to create was fun, but I was happy with the chance to get to meet people of my age from Beijing and Hong Kong."

Launched in May in the three cities, the theme of the event this year is "City Faces," which was chosen to reflect the World Expo Shanghai's theme "Better City Better Life."

The program encouraged students to discover the beauty of their own city in poetry and photography through team work and cultural exchanges.

The program includes e-learning tutorials, a semifinal competition and a camp in Hong Kong. The camp featured a learning workshop series, a cultural exchange forum and the final competition.

The camp had 90 students from the three cities.

The program debuted last year and was sponsored by Swire Organization for Youth Arts (SOYA).

Established in 2005 by Swire Properties, SOYA aims to promote art and culture in Hong Kong and China, as well as to nurture talented and creative youths.

"The Art Talents Pop Up! Poemography Exp. 2010 coincides with the World Expo Shanghai. Thus it was a good time for young people to express their feelings toward Shanghai by either taking photographs or writing poems to express their artistic self," said Alvin Kong, Swire Properties' general manager for Shanghai and eastern China.

This year, 420 students aged 14 to 18 participated in the program, more than doubling the number last year.

"The art work this year has definitely improved and I hope there can be more events of this kind," said Hong Kong artist Liu Wai-tong, who was on the judging panel for the final round.

Professional photographers and renowned poets from three cities taught students techniques in photography and poetry.

"Combining poetry and photography is not easy. It's not just simply describing a picture with words, but expressing our thoughts and emotions through the two art forms, which improves each other and makes the expression perfect," said another judge Ren Yue, who is a famous photographer.

"I am happy to see the poems in this program. Young students today may not know what a real poem is. The event provides a great chance for them to contact this art and start their interest in it," said judge Wang Yin, a poet.


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