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A Glimpse of Life in the Deep Sea

Announcing the Winners of the 2024 Science Without Borders® Challenge

May 8, 2024
Written by Amy Heemsoth

The Science Without Borders® Challenge, hosted by the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, unites young artists and ocean conservation advocates, highlighting their talent and dedication to safeguarding our oceans. This year’s theme, “Hidden Wonders of the Deep,” inspired students aged 11-19 to showcase the mysterious and diverse marine life thriving in our ocean’s depths. The competition received an impressive 1,700 entries from 82 countries, emphasizing the global interest in ocean conservation and creativity.

Artwork was evaluated in two age categories (11-14 and 15-19), showcasing beautiful depictions of deep-sea organisms and ecosystems. These winning entries vividly capture the significance and beauty of the deep sea, emphasizing the urgent need for conservation efforts. Now, let’s introduce you to the talented winners of the Science Without Borders® Challenge!

Winners Ages 11-14:

The first-place winner in this age category goes to Claire Kim, a 12-year-old from Canada, for her piece titled “Wonders of the Twilight Zone.” Claire’s piece offers a mesmerizing journey into the depths of the ocean, capturing the essence of the deep sea as a magical world full of vibrant colors and enchanting creatures, challenging common perceptions, and revealing the hidden beauty of the twilight zone.

In “Don’t Follow the Light,” which earned Second Place, Cheong Wong from China at age 11, delves into the mysterious world of the anglerfish. Cheong’s artwork serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by deep-sea creatures, urging viewers to cherish the magical beauty of life in this dark ‘kingdom on Earth.’

Felicia Fang from China, aged 14, clinched Third Place with “Praying,” a piece addressing the impact of human activities on marine life. Felicia’s artwork highlights the urgent need for collective action to protect our oceans, portraying the struggle of deep-sea creatures amidst increasing sea pollution.

Winners Ages 15-19:

First Place in the category goes to “Worlds Emerging,” submitted by Eva Park, a 17-year-old artist from the United States of America. Through the contrast of darkness and light, Eva captures the essence of exploration and wonder in discovering these creatures’ hidden world. Her piece features symbolic elements like the oarfish and siphonophore, representing the known and otherworldliness of deep-sea creatures. 

Securing Second Place is “Under the Sea” by Nadia Cho, a 16-year-old artist also from the United States of America. Nadia’s artwork focuses on the intricate ecosystem around hydrothermal vents, showcasing the importance of tubeworms and their symbiotic relationship with chemosynthetic bacteria. Her piece highlights the unique beauty of this ecosystem and draws parallels to coral reefs, emphasizing how tubeworms, like corals, provide protection and habitat for many organisms.

Claiming Third Place is “Look Into The Light” by Jiayi (Jenny) Xu, a 15-year-old artist from the United States of America. Jenny’s painting offers an ominous yet captivating glimpse into the life of an anglerfish and its prey in the abyssopelagic zone. Her artwork portrays the allure and danger of the deep sea, incorporating elements of bioluminescence and newly discovered species.

Honorable Mentions

As the number of entries continues to grow annually, our judges face a challenging task in evaluating the artwork. In recognition of the exceptional quality across both age categories this year, we have chosen to award honorable mentions to these deserving participants.

In the Ages 11-14 category, an Honorable Mention goes to Chloe Jeong from the United States of America, age 14, for “Discovering the Undiscovered.” Chloe’s artwork portrays a young woman exploring a deep-sea ecosystem from a submersible, emphasizing the ongoing exploration of these intriguing environments and the discoveries of the hidden wonders yet to come.

Two outstanding Honorable Mentions deserve recognition in the Ages 15-19 category. Zoe Cheng, a 17-year-old from Taiwan, presents “Glowing Allure from the Deep.” Through vibrant depictions of creatures like the anglerfish and gulper eel, Zoe showcases their fascinating adaptations, emphasizing the diversity of deep-sea life. Similarly, Sarah Peng, a 16-year-old artist from Canada, captures the enchanting essence of the deep sea in “Nature’s Wonderland.” Her artwork highlights the beauty of bioluminescent creatures and how they live in harmony with each other in a part of the ocean that’s still a mystery to us.

These young artists have not only demonstrated exceptional talent but also a deep understanding of the importance of ocean conservation. Their artwork serves as a powerful reminder of our responsibility to protect and conserve our oceans for future generations.

We extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the winners and participants of the 2024 Science Without Borders® Challenge. Your creativity and passion inspire us all to work towards a sustainable future for our planet’s ocean. Together, we can make a difference.

Read the full article, see all winning artists, and learn more about the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.

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