Chios May 4th - 6th, 2007
Children of the World dream and paint about Peace.
KIDS' GUERNICA Events in Chios May 4th - 6th 2007.
When there is peace, then even the sun wears sunglasses!
Friday May 4th
- While setting up the
- others, including 30 people from Japan, visited the Primary School with Markos Kavouras as Principal. There were discussed subjects related to Art Education but also what the children of Chios knew about Japan. One pupil said immediately: "earthquakes!" Takuya Kaneda was taken back and stated that they do not pose really a problem.
- Due to Kids' Guernica having started in Japan 1995, and this in memory of both Nagasaki and Hiroshima, it was significant to have amongst the murals the one painted in Nagasaki with the telling title: 'Re-Constructing the City after the Atomic Bomb'. It was a clear reminder that the legacy of Picasso's Guernica continues in the modern world as the bombardment of especially innocent civilians has not stopped; one needs only to think of Sarajevo during the siege and finally terminated by another kind of bombardment, namely of Nato planes of Kosovo in 1999, or else of Bagdad that was bombed in March 2003 for two weeks before American and coalition forces dared to move in to oust Saddam Hussein.
Nagasaki "Rebuilding the city after the bomb"
- Throughout those three days in Chios, various discussion about the messages and impact of the murals touched off still further debates. Many people were interested to learn more about how they were created. In particular, they were moved by the mural "Enough. We want to live". Iman Nouri and Mirian from Tripoli, Lebanon explained how it was brought about. However, the video about the Lebanon mural shown Saturday evening provoked a critical debate about whether or not so much self advertisement of the sponsor of the mural, namely the Rotary Club, was what Kids' Guernica should stand for. It begs the question but how independent can a movement like Kids' Guernica stay from sponsors? Also many people were touched by the mural painted by the "Blind Boys" from Academy in Kolkata with Asit Poddar explaining how it was brought about.
- After a good meal in a beautiful tavern, its location prompted a new kind of exploration of Chios, namely of
Then, the youth, including the ten students from Japan, went to a school of Chios where they started to prepare for the evening school concert. They painted together with others a peace banner - see "Peace is not a ghost" - painting of banner It entailed writing peace in different languages and expressing deeply felt sentiments such as 'peace is not a ghost' or 'Ich liebe den Frieden' (I love peace).
Painting of Peace banner
- Once the peace banner was completed, the youth went out into the school yard to join in a spray action of a new graffiti. Since colour is sprayed onto a wall, such a mural differs from the Kids' Guernica murals since the latter are on a huge canvas but are mobile and can be taken everywhere. See
- The evening school concert took place in the concert hall near the main square where the exhibition was. Different school groups performed first 'peace songs' in Greek and in the second part songs in English. The performance ended with the famous song 'image all the people' by John Lennon.
Saturday May 5th
- 9.00 - 12.00 Peace Workshops
- Guided by Thomas Economacos, a new mural was started with the aim it later to Izmir, Turkey and have it there be completed by working together with children and students from Izmir, Turkey. See First sketches for the Chios-Izmir Mural
Thomas Economacos with the children
- 12.00 - 13.30 There took place a discussion between writer George Crane (author of "Bones of the Master" and "Beyond the House of the False Lama" and Zen-Priest Noriaki Suzuki about the relationship between "art and religion". It meant examining different philosophical and aesthetical approaches to the arts and in particular to writing. When Noriaki Suzuki referred to his experiences with Kids' Guernica in Japan, he emphasized how important it is to give space to children and youth outside of school. For the latter stands for all kinds of evaluation pressures and that would stifle freedom of artistic expression. As Zen Priest he went on to say that peace within oneself, with the 'self', that can only be achieved by truly free artistic expressions. Socrates Kabouropoulos from the National Book Centre of Greece moderated the discussion. It took place at the Papyros bookshop, 44 Aplotariasstr. in Chios. See:
- 13.30 - 17.00 Different kinds of actions took place on the Platia: many children got involved by painting in the shade of the big murals. They were all in one row and painted on a rolled out paper to form an elongated mural. Or else they joined the puppet show or else learned to fold papers as skillfully as the Japanese art education students who taught them these techniques. The Japanese delegation had brought with it as a gift many such folding papers.
- When relating to the Prefecture of Chios, then in the knowledge that it had a very high reputation in the whole of Greece due exceptional good performances of its students in university entry exams. It became a focus of interest to find out more about what educational policy the Prefecture had adopted and by creating a link to Kids' Guernica, how this could contribute to understanding better what would make a peace process work. Hatto Fischer proposed to approach this by looking at
- Other tasks were linked to preparations for the evening, and that meant primarily preparing and cooking the food to be distributed in the evening to all. The Japanese delegation had brought with it special ingredients (spices, noodles etc.) while the Prefecture provided cooking possibilities and other additional ingredients e.g. drinks, bread, salad materials, cookies for desert etc.
Peace Posters (below the stage) brought by Kate Parker, London UK
- 20.00 Evening celebration was supposed to consist of first speeches and then dance performances from Chios but also from Nepal and Japan, but early in the evening a tasty international food specially prepared by the Japanese delegation distracted many.
Sunday May 6th
- 9.00 Excursion to Anavatos
- 11.00 Discussion and acceptance of a draft to be submitted to the Prefecture of Chios
The pledge for the Izmir-Chios Mural namely to follow-up the already started canvas by taking it to Izmir, Turkey at a later date, in order to foster international dialogue
- 17.30 Departure by Fast Ferry back to Piraeus
Towards a peace declaration
with youth from Chios, Greece and Izmir, Turkey painting together such a mural
By painting together a peace mural on a canvas which has been donated by Takuya Kaneda, Coordinator of Kids' Guernica International, a pledge was made to overcome Delacroix's reminder of the slaughter in Chios and show this Chios-Izmir mural at the Kids' Guernica exhibition linked to the Symposium "Productivity of Culture" organised by the Network of European Cultural Capital Cities at the Megaron - Zappion, Athens, Oct. 18 - 19, 2007.
Stones and Sand form a pattern along the shore line
Along the curvatures of the earth
a universe unfolds
out of certainty of love
still ships passing by the coastline
lets H.Broch remember the loneliness of sailors
who left one day out of Romanticism their ports
and never again found back home
despite favorable winds.
As the myth narrated by Homer tells
only those return whose wives remain faithful
although Penelope spend years of waiting all alone
but while she was surrounded by friars
she felt no fear to wish the man she loved would return
to challenge all those other men
and free her so that they could love again
As if the wild goose
no longer flies away
now tamed at home.
The critical question is whether or not peace be brought about by staying calm, so that things can settle down and everyone can wait until a way is shown to get out of the conflict without doing any further harm? What love can do that power is unable to dictate, that is a longing of man and woman for a life filled with happiness. Once linked to the ability to avoid war, then the voice of reason shall be listened to.
Given the state of affairs in the world, what lesson can be drawn out of the past? Surely what has been taking place within Europe since 1945, that is in view of history a kind of miracle. Naturally the bombardment of Kosovo in 1999 broke that promise of never again war! Yet peace has prevailed to a large extent and to this mainly thanks to the creation of the European Union. What has contributed a great deal to this is a peaceful integration based on social and economic cohesion. After 1999 that has been abandoned to quite some extent but still it includes open borders and countering nationalist tendencies by challenging them in a positive way.
Pre-history and responsible for the organisation:
- The "Kids' Guernica" project started in Japan 1995, 50 years after the end of WWII
- In 2005 the 10th Anniversary was celebrated in Ubub, Bali.
- In 2006 POIEIN KAI PRATTEIN organized an exhibition of 15 paintings in Kastelli, Crete. One teacher from Chios, Markos Kavouras participated. He suggested to do it again the following year in Chios.
- The kids' Guernica action came about thanks to the support of the Prefecture of Chios and was realized in collaboration with the Municipality of Chios. Everyone coming from abroad paid for their own travel expenses. Moreover the Japanese delegation gave both financial support and brought many other materials from papers for folding to donating one new canvas for what became the Chios-Izmir painting.
- Locally the Prefecture covered costs of the exhibition and accommodation along with a part of the food costs.
- POIEIN KAI PRATTEIN organized the entire Chios event with 'zero budget'.
Delegations with 30 people from Japan, 4 from Lebanon, 1 from London, 1 from India, 4 from New York / USA, 1 from Germany, 7 from Athens
- Takuya Kaneda, International Coordinator of Kids’ Guernica, Japan
- Hatto Fischer, Coordinator of POIEIN KAI PRATTEIN, Germany
- Thomas Economacos, Art Coordinator, POIEIN KAI PRATTEIN, Athens
- Mr. Suzuki, Zen Priest and Art Educator, Japan
- Iman Nouri, Mother and Business Consultant, Lebanon
- Kate Parker, Art Educator, London, UK
- George Crane, writer e.g. “Bones of the Master”, USA
- Vilka Tzouras, filmmaker, video documentation
- Maya Fischer, photography documentatio
- Mr. Asit Poddar, Artist, India
- Anna Arvanitaki, Planner and Architect, President of POIEIN KAI PRATTEI
- Socrates Kabouropoulos, Greek National Book Centre
- Markos Kavouras, Principal of Primary School in Chios
- Gabriele + Sabine
Chios by night @ Maya Fischer 2007