If these drawings look familiar, you may be wanted by Mexico!
In October 1968, the first Olympic Games were staged in Mexico. Within its cultural programme, the World Festival of Children’s Painting was organised with the theme, ‘Un Mundo de Amistad’ – A World of Friendship. Children from 80 countries contributed to the drawings and murals which went on to be displayed in some of Mexico City’s most iconic spots.
Today, the Embassy of Mexico in New Delhi is on the hunt for those handful of Indian children, now adults, who participated in the ‘World Children’s Painting Festival’. The project ‘A World of Friendship – 50 years later’ is preparing an exhibition in Mexico City, to feature the few surviving pieces of the originally 1,800-strong collection. To acknowledge the contribution of those children to the painting festival, the embassies of Mexico worldwide are searching for the participants, who would now be adults.
Of the eight Indian participants, all that is known about them is their name and age. It is likely that the Indian children may have participated through the renowned Shankar’s International Children’s Art Competition. It is also believed that three Indian students may have travelled to Mexico along with the Indian sports contingent, to paint murals which were placed along the Avenue Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, converting the long iconic boulevard into an immense art gallery.
But despite the very limited information available, the Embassy of Mexico in New Delhi was able to track down one participant from Gujarat. The child participant Jitendra Navnitlal Parikh, aged 15 at the time, was a student of Shree Sayaji High School in Baroda, and his painting entitled ‘Market’, was submitted to the children’s painting festival in Mexico. Unfortunately, he passed away in 1998 due to a long illness.
The other Indian participants were Sujata Sharma (aged 14 at the time), New Delhi; Ira Sachdeva (aged 12 at the time), Delhi; Sanat Kundu (aged 13 at the time); Vivek Kuchibhatla (aged 9 at the time); Ela Ems (aged 8 at the time) and Leela Sudakaran. The Embassy of Mexico will present a copy of the framed painting along with a certificate of commendation to the participants to mark the 50th anniversary of the cultural initiative, ‘A World of Friendship’.