Last Chance to Paint

Last Chance to Paint - children around the globe recognised for their conservation art

International wildlife charity Born Free is delighted to announce the winners of the Last Chance to Paint Awards1.

With 27 children and a primary school group being selected as the winners from varying age categories (3-5, 6-8, 9-12,13-16, Group, and Tribal) they represented countries across the globe including the UK, Hong Kong, Borneo, and Brazil.

Launched in September 2019, led by UK contemporary artist John Dyer and in collaboration with the Eden Project and Born Free, school children were invited to submit their own piece of art inspired by the environment. It was part of a wider Last Chance to Paint project with primary schools throughout the UK, and further afield, offering pupils the chance to explore tribal culture, interact with John and learn about the rainforest. So far John has painted live with the Yawanawá tribe in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil (Chapter 1: Procreate Spirit of the Rainforest) and visited critically endangered Bornean orangutans (Chapter 2: Innova Art Person of the Forest). The project aims to encourage children to form a personal connection to an endangered environment and the wildlife that lives there.

The competition received over 400 entries but it was up to the judges - Virginia McKenna OBE (Co-Founder of Born Free), John Dyer (Artist in Residence for the Eden project & Founder of Last Chance to Paint), Sir Tim Smit KBE (Co-Founder of the Eden Project), Kate Stephenson (Education Editor for National Geographic Kids Magazine), and Matilda Gollon (International Marketing Manager at the competition’s sponsors Zazzle) to pick the winners.

Chi - Aged 15 - School of Creativity - Hong Kong

The winners each received a selection of personalised gifts from the competition’s sponsors Zazzle (, custom made with their own artwork, along with a Born Free goodie bag and a signed print from artist John Dyer, courtesy of The John Dyer Gallery.

“Making Art is one of the fundamental things that makes us human and it is built into us all”, explained John Dyer. “Humans have celebrated and recorded what is important in the natural world for tens of thousands of years and it is still a powerful and personal way to connect to the world around us and what we all stand to lose. I’m thrilled to see so many young artists, from all over the world, taking the time to celebrate the beauty and wonder of the Amazon and Borneo rainforests.

“Our Last Chance to Paint judges have selected a stunning variety of work that showcases children’s art from the Yawanawá tribe in the Amazon and the Penan tribe in Borneo alongside art from China, the UK and the United Arab Emirates. Exquisite watercolours, vibrant wax resists, acrylic canvas, poster paints and collage have all been used to great effect and I am thrilled at the standard of the work and proud to celebrate the children’s art and their response to Last Chance to Paint.”

Lowen - Aged 5 - Orangutans in the forest - UK

Virginia McKenna, added: “All my life I have been in awe of artists. Young or old, it makes no difference. The ability, with paintbrush or pencil, to bring a person, an animal, or a scene to life, is simply magic! How fortunate we are to see these fascinating images, created by such talented young people- for me they are all winners.”

The winners’ creations, and every piece of art submitted, have been uploaded to where the Last Chance to Paint team is working to build the world’s largest online art gallery of children’s work that celebrates and highlights what we all stand to lose in the natural world.

The next Last Chance to Paint project will focus on Kenya. From Maasai communities to threatened rhinos, elephants and lions Last Chance to Paint: Precious Africa will share and capture the spirit of this amazing country through the people, plants and animals that call it home.

For more information, visit or call Born Free’s Head of Education, Laura Gosset, on 01403 240170.

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