Using a canvas the same size as the one Spanish painter Pablo Picasso used for his anti-war painting "Guernica," students from Nishikyogoku Nishi Elementary School in Kyoto have completed a mural with a message of peace for the international children's art project "Kids' Guernica."

The vibrant finished work focuses on accepting differences and features children from various countries holding hands. Students from Daigo Junior High School in Kyoto are also working on a mural, and both will be shown in Paris in June to honor the 60th anniversary of a friendship agreement between the two cities.

The original Guernica was unveiled at the 1937 Paris Expo. Picasso created it after a northern Spain town of the same name was bombed by Nazi Germany during the Spanish Civil War.

Sixth graders from Nishikyogoku Nishi Elementary School planned the mural during their winter break, and 249 students as well as teachers began working on it during class time and free time in February.

A drawing at the center of the 3.5-by-7.8-meter canvas depicts children from around the world encircled in flowers. "PEACE" is written on an image of Earth to the left, atop which sits the five-storied pagoda of Kyoto's Toji Temple and the Eiffel Tower.

Cherry tree petals, filled in with hearts, flowers, and objects the students chose to show the world, appear to blow across the right side.

"I drew with the hope that kids' facial expressions would soften when they see the mural. People have their differences, but discovering good things together is linked to peace," said sixth-grader Misaki Jimura, 12.

Members of the art club at Daigo Junior High School are working together with students from Seian University of Art and Design in Shiga Prefecture.

The Kyoto Shimbun