For the second time in as many years, one of Google’s iconic Doodles will have been created by a Canadian student.
On Tuesday, the search giant announced the finalists and grand prize winner of its Doodle 4 Google contest at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto. Now in its second year, the contest asks elementary and high school students from across the country to create their own doodles. To help fuel their creativity, Google provides an overarching theme. With Canada celebrating its 150th birthday this year, Google asked students to use their doodles to show what they see in the nation’s future.
Students responded enthusiastically. According to the company, more than 12,000 students from across Canada entered into the contest, and more than 465,000 Canadians voted on their favourite doodles, a record on both counts.
Each of the four finalists received a Google Chromebook, a $5,000 CAD technology grant for their school. In addition, their work of art will also be featured in an online gallery devoted to the event.
The national winner, Jana Safia Panem, an 11th-grade student from Toronto, also won a $10,000 university scholarship. Moreover, on June 14th, for a period of 24 hours, Canadians from coast to coast to coast will be able to see her piece, A Bright Future, on Google.ca.
“She hit every mark. She had the artistry there, her theme was there and the Doodle itself felt Googlely, creative and cool,” said Maria Cortelluci, a spokesperson for the company, speaking to why Google picked Panem’s entry to win the whole contest. “We were also really impressed by her mission statement, which focused on renewable energy and seeing that as part of Canada’s future.”
Looking at the top entries after the confetti and balloons have settled, each doodle provides a fascinating insight into how this country’s young people see their home and its future. A consistent theme through many of the art pieces is a concern for the environment and an emphasis on diversity. The future of Canada, viewed through the lens of these young people, is more diverse, more hopeful than it’s ever been. If art is the soul of a people, then Canada’s gonna be alright.