Kids' Guernica and ECCM 2007
Kids' Guernica exhibition in conjunction with the ECCM Symposium 'Productivity of Culture' at the Zappeion - Megaron in Athens, Oct. 17 - 20, 2007
KIDS’ GUERNICA is an international peace project for children who create throughout the world peace murals on canvases the same size as Pablo Picasso's "Guernica" (3.5 m × 7.8m).
KIDS’ GUERNICA project was initiated by ART JAPAN NETWORK in 1995, the year of the 50th anniversary of World War II. More than 70 wonderful paintings were already completed for this project in 30 countries.
Το Kids’ Guernica ξεκίνησε το 1995, 50 χρόνια μετά τη λήξη του Δεύτερου Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου με πρωτοβουλία του ART JAPAN NETWORK. Σε αυτό το διάστημα περισσότερα από 70 μοναδικές ζωγραφιές έχουν δημιουργηθεί σε 30 χώρες.
- The exhibition entailed 10 murals outside and four inside (Martinique, Blind Boys' Academy, Japan of Cherry Blossoms and Palestine).
- Kids' Guernica experiences were narrated during a special session of the Symposium.
Special members of Kids’ Guernica narrated furthermore their experiences when doing together with children these murals during a special session of the Symposium:
The session was chaired by Magnolia Albertazzi, Italy
- Asit Poddar, Kolkata, India
- Sara Lowndes, Dubai
- Iman Nouri, Tripoli, Lebanon
- Jad Salman, Palestine
- Savina Tarsitano and Yvette Galot, Martinique, Caribbean
- Bernard Conlon, Belfast, Northern Ireland
- Deniz Hasirci and Gulistan Banu Cel, Izmir, Turkey
- Jan Brueggemeier, Weimar, Germany
- Takuya Kaneda, Networking of Kids' Guernica
Spyros Mercouris with Hatto Fischer at the exhibition
A few words by special advisor to Kids' Guernica, Spyros Mercouris (the brother of Melina Mercouri):
"Picasso, the giant in painting, has been followed by many little giants.
All these murals show that children know best how to express themselves with all their imagination. They conceive a world at peace and not one to be bombed from the air.
Picasso set an important tone when he painted Guernica. As expression of human pain, it does not fit into the one or other political category. Human pain comes from within and cannot be expressed by simple political images or symbols.
Today there are too many Guernica's in the world and too many innocent civilians have been bombed. It seems that only children are able to enter seriously a peace process as they still trust the other and do not need an enemy picture to justify their actions. They are free to go with their imagination into the future."
After Picasso’s Guernica - 70 years later Kids’ Guernica: Hatto Fischer
While it is important to highlight Picasso's Guernica 70 years after the bombing of Guernica, one thing is usually left out: the link to the present. Wars leading to the bombing of innocent civilians has continued since Guernica in 1937. Consequently many more people are traumatized while entire cities like Baghdad are being silenced. In response to that there has come about the Kids' Guernica movement world wide: children paint peace murals the same size as Picasso, whether in Nepal, India, New Zealand, USA, or Japan where it began 50 years after the end of Second World War. Among the peace murals to be shown at the Zappion – Megaron, Athens, and this in conjunction with the ECCM Symposium “Productivity of Culture”, there will ones containing peace messages from children living in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, Belfast/Northern Ireland, Chicago/USA, Martinique, India, New Zealand, Japan, Georgia, Australia and Greece. One of them is from Nagasaki with the title: "We are living in Nagasaki reconstructed after the destruction by Atomic bombing”.
KIDS' GUERNICA Murals shown at the Zappeion
1. A joint Izmir – Chios painting: an international dialogue between Greek and Turkish children and youth
The mural was started in Chios in May during the Kids' Guernica exhibition there and completed with Turkish children and students in Izmir at the end of September 2007. The coordinators are Deniz Hasirci and Gulistan BanuCel from Izmir, Efi Lipari from Chioas and Hatto Fischer with Thomas Economacos from Poiein kai Prattein.
2. “Enough. We want to live” – painting from Tripoli, Lebanon
Voice of Lebanon by coordinator Iman Mourad
“In between all things, there is always that small effort which can make all the difference between giving up and still trying.” - Hatto Fischer
"I hope a peaceful and positive energy will emanate from this painting, that it will give a positive vibration to every adult or kid who stops and looks at the right part of our painting. For that part depicts the beauty of our country when in a peaceful, wonderful and equally natural state from which emanates love, serenity, sunshine, natural beauty. It is a special place on mother earth called Lebanon.
Doing a Kids’ Guernica peace mural entails such a learning experience which touches our kids’ minds and souls, families, teachers and friends. It allows us to gather together, to create, to help, to put hands on the canvas in order to draw, to paint and even to write poems and messages. It lets us feel enchanted when listening to special songs, including the National anthem and explains why we get goose bumps on our skins when breathing the air of peace, loyalty, real independence, all while sensing a freedom to fly our kites high in a secure sky.
The effort, the time and support given to this undertaking are the first stones in redesigning a brighter and more peaceful society for our children.
We are the survivors of a horrible war, and in our hearts exist all the memories of all the people and organizations who try to help those who are seeking peace.
I wish that this special vibration will enter all minds and hearts so that each one is touched, moved to take a bit of time to think, to help, to act and to care.
We need your support."
Children who participated:
- Abd-El Hammed Khalil
- Ahmad Yahya
- Aijoud Mourhabi
- Andrew Raad
- Ammar Rey
- Alaa Daher
- Christine Safatly
- Gina Badawi
- Hala Kabbara
- Hayat Merhi
- Ihtidaal Bassyouni
- Jad Naaman
- Jad Bakri
- Karim Maaliki
- Karim El-soufi
- Lynn Sidawi
- Loubna Radwan
- Maxim Safieh
- Moustafa Arab
- Miriam Mourad
- Mira Mohsen
- Michel Hajjar
- Miguel Chehade
- Mirna Barakat
- Nadia Baroudi
- Nicole Abed
- Nour Khawaja
- Nour El-houda Maarabani
- Omar Danawi
- Rami Kamareddine
- Ryan Moukadem
- Radwan Baroudi
- Suzanne Barakat
- Valia Mhaish
3. "Life hangs in a balance" - from the British School in Dubai
Coordinator: Sara Lowndes
Our message of Peace
A Message of Peace from the Students involved in the Guernica Project at the Dubai British School in the UAE. These are the children’s words:
"The whole experience has so far been a great team effort and we have, as a group worked together and discussed our ideas before we started the painting.
It has been a chance to learn about the devastating effects of war on the human race, particularity the innocent children that always seem to be the victims of war.
The experience has opened our eyes to the number of conflicts that are being fought around the world today."
- Children: Adam, Patrick, Zara, Sandra, Elliot and
- Teacher: Mrs Wendy Harris
- Coordinator: Sara Lowndes
4. Chicago, USA
Coordinator: Stacy Koumbis
5. “The war is over” – POIEIN KAI PRATTEIN, Athens Greece
Coordinators: Hatto Fischer + Thomas Economacos
6. Martinique, Caribbean Sea
Coordinator: Savina Tarsitano
Director of Cultural Centre in Martinique: Yvette Galot
Savina Tarsitano with some of the children and adolescents from Martinique
7. Kabul, Afghanistan – “Never again war” (2006)
Coordinator: Fatema Nawaz
8. Over the Rainbow – Auckland, New Zealand
9. Nepal painting 2005 – collaboration between children from Kathmandou and Himalayan mountain village
10. “After the bomb. Building a new life” – Nagasaki 2007
Coordination: Takuya Kaneda
11. "Surfing for peace", Sydney, Australia
12. Georgia Mural
13. Preparing for a painting from Belfast, Northern Ireland in reflections of the wall murals created during hard times and conflict
Coordinator: Bernard Conlon - the mural was completed in 2008 and a first public viewing given in 2009.
Belfast Ireland Ireland Map
Coordinator: Jad Salman
The mural was made by seven Palestinian children. It was a mixed group, with one child coming from Gaza while the others from Turlkarem, Jenine, Qalqili, Jerusalem. This reflects the fact that Ramallah like the whole of Palestine is composed of people coming from many different backgrounds and all living together.
Ever since I had a first encounter with Kids' Guernica in Torino while there on an artist residency program in 2005, I wanted to realize a similar action in Palestine.
What touched me most in this action in Torino was that a mixed group of youngsters from many countries, but all touched by war, tried to relate to Picasso's Guernica in a collective way to make their pains more understandable. Most impressive was for me when lying on the ground and seeing different feet - black, white, brown etc. - walking over the empty canvas.
It was up there in the mountains near Torino, all covered in snow, where the youth had gathered to discuss how to uphold the Olympic Truce and with it Human Rights during the Olympic Games, and this in preparation of the Winter Olympics in Torino 2006, that I met as well Hatto Fischer. His NGO called Poiein kai Prattein ("to create and to do") had together with PEACE WAVES organized this Youth event. It turned out later that it was also his first encounter with Kids' Guernica.
After Torino Hatto and I stayed in contact and thus I learned that he was preparing together with Spyros Mercouris for October 2007 a symposium about 'Productivity of Culture' in Athens and this in conjunction with a Kids' Guernica exhibition.
Knowing this, I brought together children in my neighborhood to see if we could create together a mural based on what Guernica means to them. Circumstances did not allow the children to express themselves on a canvas which has the same size as Picasso's Guernica (7,8 x 3,5 m), but on a smaller format. However, the full intention was there to express all agonies about war and peace, about life between dream and reality and about hardships in daily life.
Thanks to a new art residency which brought me to Paris by the end of September 2007, I could bring with me the little mural to France with the intention to send it from to Athens. Fortunately after having arrived in Paris, I learned that my visa permitted me to travel in Europe and therefore I could take up the invitation by the organisers of the event in Athens and bring the mural personally in October 2007.
What strikes me most about what the children painted on this little mural, is their effort to imagine a normal life which includes contact with the sea, land and sky. But that was not normal to them because in the sea they saw destroyers, on land tanks and in the sky airplanes dropping bombs. Even the moon seems to be threatened by bombs. Despite of this situation it did not stop them to imagine happiness. This they portrayed in the mural as a figure dancing with balloons. Interesting is that the mural contains an element of Picasso in the form of hand calling for help. This hand stretches out towards an ambulance which is to be found below a tank and helicopter.
All children growing up in war learn very quickly that the only person they can rely upon is themselves. They face a shortcut in life; not only a short childhood, but also a short life.
What this mural says very simply is that children search for a normal life.
Image of peace for Middle East created by children
in Picasso's Atelier in Paris and where he painted Guernica.
15. Blind Boys Guernica
Coordinator: Asit Poddar
The painting can be touched and when the blind boys who had created the painting did it, they were amazed what each one of them had done.
Blind Boy’s Academy, Rama Krishna Mission, Narendrapur, Kolkata, India
"From the very beginning of the Kid’s Guernica Peace mural project, that is since 1995 I am involved. In the last eleven years countless children have done many Kids’ Guernica paintings across the world. They express their views of peace for the future world. Many of the paintings are even done by mentally challenged children in Japan, India and many other countries. This year in my country we are celebrating the centenary of Great Blind artist Binod Bihari Mukherjee. Of course he was not blind at birth but had a poor vision and later he became blind. Even though he became blind he continued with his work and painted many big murals with his inner eye.
I felt that blind children can also make a Kid’s Guernica mural. I went to the Blind Boys Academy Rama Krishna Mission, Narendrapur located at the outskirts of the city. I spoke with the principal of the school and with the blind children. The children agreed to do it and at last they did it. During the 3-day workshop in the hot summer at the end of April 2007 they enjoyed a lot but of course this workshop was different as the children who participated were blind. With the help of thread and gum they made it possible."
- Asit Poddar
- Sumita Samanta – Associate coordinator
- Samik Saha – Documentation
- Sujit Naskar – instrutor
- Santanu Sardar 14yrs
- Bijoy Purokayet 11
- Sabirul Islam 14
- Ranjan Das 12
- Sudip Das 13
- Mrityunjoy Purokayet 13
- Pankaj Sinha 14
- Sadhan Basu 14
- Tiya Ghosh 14
- Rajesh Halder 11
- Mahesh Jadav 14
- Swarup Das 14
- Sk. Arit Hussain 11
- Jasimuddin Sekh
- Bamanadipta Paul 14
- Rajdeep Nayek 11
- Subroto Pandit 10
- Gouranga Das 12
- Riju Mahato 10
- Sujon Bose 12
16. Higashikurume, Japan 2003
This is a very special painting because done on rice paper and therefore very light. 80 people were involved ranging in ages from 2 to 80.
17. Painting Action with Children from 108th Elementary School in Athens
Co-ordination: Thomas Economacos, Poiein Kai Prattein
Thomas with children from Chios to start the Greek-Turkish peace mural
KIDS’ GUERNICA Exhibition Athens
17 – 21.October 2007
with the ECCM Symposium: “Productivity of Culture”
was organized by
POIEIN KAI PRATTEIN
Place: in Zappion Megaron
Time: Oct. 18/19 2007
Kids' Guernica International
International Coordinator of Kids’ Guernica in Japan
Responsible: POIEIN KAI PRATTEIN
- Anna Arvanitaki (President)
- Hatto Fischer (Coordinator)
- Thomas Economacos (Art Coordinator)
- Maria Capari (Environment)
- Maya Fischer and Kostas Kartelias (photo documentation)
- Jan Brueggemeier (online editor)
- Mike Ritter (web master)
STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION
Further information about this exhibition in conjunction with the ECCM Symposium 'Productivity of Culture' see