Joy of Europe – Art Competition




International Art Competition JOY OF EUROPE

Not so long ago, in 1998, the 25th annual gathering “The Joy of Europe” got a new, important part of its program – The International Art Competition (after the introduction of sanctions against Serbia in 1991, the Manifestation was renewed in 1996). The idea to organize an art gathering of the children of the world originated much earlier. Its initiator was the art teacher and Master of Arts Leposava Tufegdžić in the far away 1964, when the art studio of the House of Pioneers (today’s Children’s Cultural Centre of Belgrade) moved to the new building, where it remains to this day. For decades it hosted annual exhibitions of the members of the Studio, as memorable as the awards that its students received in the country and abroad. For her teaching work at the Art Studio, Leposava Tufegdžić received the exclusive recognition of the City of Belgrade – the Dositej Award, but she didn’t live to see her dream come true. Further on, the academic painter Nebojša Zdravković, a former member of the Studio, and Goran Simić, an outstanding art teacher, left their mark on the Studio’s work. A new chapter begun in 1992, when Dragan Simonović joined as the editor of the art program. The studio then turned into a greenhouse of ever vibrant ideas, choosing the right moment for the international art gathering to come to life. A suggestion was brought to the Managing Board of the traditional manifestation that the “Joy of Europe” gets another segment which would gather the children of the world through the language of art. It took years and a great dedication of Dragan Simonović to bring this idea to life, as the International Art Competition was not in accordance with the non-competitive nature of the Manifestation.
Emphasis was placed on the analysis of the works of art, since the crown of the competition was the exhibition which affirms the authentic children’s artistic creation by representing the most successful works of arts, in the opinion of the expert jury formed by distinguished University Art professors knowledgeable in the field of children’s artistic creation.

Each yar in March the International Art Competition calls for applications, and thanks to the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, the information about the competition is distributed all around the world. Since it was established, many individual participants, preschool institutions, schools, children’s art studios, children’s cultural centers and similar institutions and associations have participated in the competition.


Over the last twenty five years the competition received over 200,000 works, and here are some of the countries which participated: Albania, Argentina, Bahrein, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Denmark, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Armenia, California (USA), China, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Namibia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, the Philippines, France, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Spain, Sri Lanka…


The international gathering of children from all over the world, made possible within a large traditional manifestation, has always been of immense importance; the expertly selected works of art on the one hand represent an important document of childhood visual culture, and on the other they are a great motivation for young creators, as well as art teachers and all those who support the purity of a child’s expression, thinking and creativity.
On the occasion of the first Gathering of the children of Europe, one of the most important Serbian literary creators for children, Duško Radović, formed the “Friendship Dictionary” that was the universal theme of the art competition for years on end (up until 2017 when it changed to free theme), choosing fifteen of the “most beautiful” words for children (child, Europe, bread, play, book, love, mother, peace, father, song, friend, bird, joy, freedom, sun). It was often the case that the motivational ideas for the artistic expression were taken literally, so the Children’s Cultural Centre of Belgrade received uniform, standardized creations with no authentic and colorful children’s artistic expression. That is where the competitive character and the crucial need for analysis and separating good works from bad didactic approaches of the teachers, as well as the need to award the most successful creations stem from.

“In the light of a critical reflection on the works from the art competitions, we are hoping and rooting for the kind of teaching that supports the purity of a child’s expression, thought and creation, and that focuses on their personal expression and contextualization of their works, more than technique and skill as quality. Joy, purity, honesty, and beauty of spirit woven into a painting as a form of self-actualization should be the main goal of art teaching, in the past as well as today”, said Dr. prof. Sanja Filipović (Art Teaching and Education Methodology, University of Arts, Belgrade – Faculty of Fine Arts) in her introduction for the 2019 exhibition catalogue.


First prize winners (and one adult companion per child) in the individual competition and in all five categories are invited every year to be the guests of Belgrade in the first week of October and during the manifestation at the organizers’ expense. Their awards are given to them at the formal opening of the exhibition. During their stay in Belgrade, the awarded authors take part in an urban art colony with a different, rich program every year. The award winners cover their own travel expenses.

The essence of international art competitions, as well as the exhibitions that follow them, is above all else the ART GATHERING – support to the natural and creative way of living!


WHO can participate: Children and young from all over the world, from 4 to 18 years of age (there are five age categories)
WHAT to send: Works on paper in various techniques (pencil, watercolor, tempera, gouache, aquarelle, pastel, Indian ink, collage, combined techniques on paper, graphics)
WHAT is the theme: The theme is free. The works need to be original and created without anybody’s help.
WHAT is the format: The format of the works is А3 (297 mm x 420 mm, 29.7 cm x 42 cm or 11.7 in x 16.5 in)


Lidija Seničar, Editor
of the International Art Competition “Joy of Europe“




—> The XXVI International Drawing and Painting Competition Joy of Europe