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Richmond boy imagines a better tomorrow

By Don Fennell

Published 10:31 PDT, Tue April 27, 2021

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

Mike Huang earns international acclaim in Toyota art contest

Now that he recently turned 13, Mike Huang is getting ever closer to that popular teenage dream scenario: possessing his own driver’s license.

But the Grade 7 Richmond Christian School student has his sights set on exploring much greater depths—as revealed through his art submission that landed Huang top marks in a global competition presented by Toyota.

“My passion and talent (for art) comes from my mind. I have always loved sea life and usually dream about exploring the depths of the ocean,” he says, explaining the inspiration to join other kids from around the world in offering a glimpse of a brighter future.


Huang’s entry was one of nine Canadian children’s creations that have been selected to be submitted to the international Toyota Dream Car Art Contest. The submissions are being globally recognized for investing vehicles to make the world a better place.

Huang is an active boy according to his mother, who says he loves drawing, sports and Lego.

“When he was a little boy, he could draw whatever he liked. It might help him to have (an) open mind. That is also the reason why he can freely express his ideas through his artwork.”

An art student at VSA Art + Design Studio, Huang learned about the contest from his art teacher. His entry, titled “OALPS Explorer,” (which stands for Oceanic, Animal Life Preservation Society) combined with programmed “med-bots” to help injured animals.

“Over the years, the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest has evolved from an art competition to an opportunity for children to bring forward their world-changing ideas,” says Larry Hutchinson, president and CEO of Toyota Canada and one of this year’s Canadian judges. “I’m truly impressed by their ideas—from making our planet more sustainable, to fighting virus and bacteria, to making the world more inclusive through physical accessibility.”

The distinguished panel of judges also included Jennifer Flanagan, CEO of Actua; automotive journalist and children’s book author and publisher Petrina Gentile; journalist and broadcaster Buzz Bishop; and Caitlin Keeley, creative director at Dentsu McGarryBowen.

“I am so inspired by these young artists and inventors,” says Flanagan. “It was amazing to see their imaginations interpret how mobility can help solve our most pressing global challenges and create a sustainable future.”

“This year’s entries really showed a reflection of our times,” Bishop says.

As for his role in the future, Huang says: “Well…I have always wanted to become a marine biologist and study sea life, but if that doesn’t work, I do love engineering and creating things. I don’t have any plans at this time (for) how to make the world a better place. But I do hope that I can study marine biology so that people will learn more about Earth’s oceans.”

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