Shropshire Star

Artists launch Darwin competition offering children a Galapagos trip

Two Shropshire artists have joined forces to launch an international children’s art competition that could see the winners echo Charles Darwin's journey to the Galapagos Islands.

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Children At the launch of the competition at the Soden Gallery with British comic artist Charlie Adlard (back and centre) and Doodle Boy (front and centre)

Shrewsbury artists Joe Whale, known globally as The Doodle Boy following his social media success, and Charlie Adlard, the comic book artist who penned such titles as Batman and The Walking Dead, launched the competition at the Soden Gallery on Saturday.

A collaboration between The World’s Children’s Parliament, The Shrewsbury Arts Trail and The Darwin Centre Wales, The Global Darwin Art Competition aims to encourage youngsters across the globe to harness their creativity for the good of the environment, paying homage to Charles Darwin. It is part of the Darwin200 anniversary project that is celebrating the great naturalist's life.

The winner and their adult carer will have the opportunity to embark on a trip of a lifetime to the Galapagos Islands – following in the footsteps of the famous Shrewsbury-born naturalist.

The Doodle Boy, Joe Whale, is spearheading this competition, which is funded by the Darwin200 project and assisted by technology education platform Wakelet.

Joe Whale (Doodle Boy) with British comic artist Charlie Adlard at the launch in Shrewsbury

He said: “I first got involved in the Darwin200 project back in the summer when I created a huge doodle about it in front of Shrewsbury Library, where Charles Darwin went to school.

"I also went to school in Shrewsbury at Woodfield Primary School, and am now an Art scholar at Ellesmere College. A big part of my learning for this project was how much Darwin's theories influenced humanity and our understanding of nature and evolution.

"I realised to my surprise, that there is so much more that can be done to further understand the power of life. We all need be like Darwin and learn and explore a lot more.”

Under the theme children 'Trees of Life' - inspired by Charles Darwin's iconic doodle of the same name - children aged between 4 and 18 years have until February 1, 2024 to enter the competition and submit their doodle.

The winner will be announced by Joe on Darwin's 215th birthday on February 12, 2024.

The Sir David Amess Children’s Parliament, The Shrewsbury Arts Trail, and The Darwin Centre Wales are thrilled to announce the global launch of The Darwin Doodle Art Competition for children in collaboration with the Soden Gallery in Shrewsbury. Pictured front left to right, Lewis and Flynn (Coleham Primary School) Joe Whale (Doodle Boy) Elvie, Soren (both Weston Lullingfields Primary School) and Alora (St. Winefride's School) Back left to right, Eva (Oakmeadow Primary School) Amelie (Priory School) Sophia and Rosa (both Coleham Primary School)

For local children, there’s an additional incentive to get doodling as Shrewsbury’s leading art space Soden Gallery will display some of the entries as a special gallery installation.

The art gallery regularly exhibits works by The Doodle Boy and has collaborated with him recently to produce a Doodle Trail around Shrewsbury - which also aims to celebrate key Darwin landmarks.

Enter the competition online using