Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Human openness, trust and friendship

Kids' Guernica started in Japan 1995, that is fifty years after the end of Second World War and which has spread since then throughout the world.

Kids' Guernica consists of the simple fact that children, youth and even adults paint together peace murals which have the same size as Picasso's Guernica ( 7,8 x 3,5 m)

As Kids’ Guernica stands for efforts to free the imagination to ensure that empathy for others becomes a corner stone of peace, it is most appropriate that its 15th anniversary shall coincide with UNESCO designation of 2010 as the year of cultural redemption.

By letting children and youth paint 'murals of peace', Kids' Guernica wishes to promote three special attributes and values: human openness, trust and friendship.

One image which can exemplify the importance of all three as prerequisite for reconciliation, is a photo taken at Toronto airport just before boarding a flight to go back to Athens, Greece. There were sitting three fellows at the same bar where I had sat down to have a small meal before departure. We started to talk a bit as their happy nature animated me to strike up some conversation. After a while they asked me what I do. I replied that I write. Oh, they responded warmly, this means that we can become a part of your story which shall either make us or else you famous! They laughed. I asked for permission if I could take a sort of historic photo of them (and greet them if they would ever see themselves on this website).

Alls Palladino-Craiq, director of the Museum where the Kids’ Guernica exhibition took place at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA in January 2010 responded after seeing this photo to greet 2010, with an incredible insight as to the meaning of that photo of these three young men:

“For the young men at the airport, the spirit of conviviality and experimentation is very strong. They are not yet tied to specifics of life (material culture, marriage, career, locales). If they can keep that charming openness as they develop attachments – as they ‘become famous’ or, indeed, ‘become’ anything – that’s the key. I look at these three faces and would be happy to know any of them: the smiles, the exuberance, the sense that an international air terminal is a safe haven. With the world getting smaller every second, here’s to making 2010 and all points of the compass cooperative and stable.”

Indeed, openness as prerequisite for travel and for social contact is not talked about too much these days when terrorist threats make anyone suspect and people tend to keep to themselves. Even if on the ground, but in an airport, this area is not considered to be a safe haven anymore, but one of the likely places where an attack can take place anytime just for the sake of sending again a chilling message through the media to the rest of the world. Airports used to be desired outing destinations for entire families who could only dream about travelling. Nowadays people are frightened by war, terrorism, weather and uncertain economic prospects, so that they no longer find any excitement in air travel even though it is still a miracle of how people move about day in, day out.

Indeed, this world is undergoing rapid changes due to a globalization and burdens everyone because the international community lacks above all an agenda for peace. Whether or not a culture of reconciliation can be brought about by the UNESCO initiative, is doubtful. Such campaigns are at best helpful to keep these international organisations in the limelight, so to speak, but basic mistrusts and delineations to mark "us" opposed to "them" makes openness, trust and friendships across all borders quite difficult.

Right now, after the failure in Copenhagen to commit everyone to concrete measures in response to climate change, in view of election fraud in Afghanistan or scandals in food aid programs etc., it means that international governance has no sure footing and cannot be upheld alone by an organisation like the United Nations. There is even talk that the main international coordination is being done now through other agencies such as the G20, the International Monetary Fund and NATO, and not even through the European Union and its Commission.

Still, there is the priority of UNESCO to further cultural diversity and respect cultural heritage and an international movement like Kids' Guernica. The latter does focus on a heavy heritage of the past, namely what traumas and damages wars and violent conflicts leave behind especially in children and youth. All wars need thereafter redemption work so that former enemies start talking to each other but this is never self understood as demonstrated by the highly complicated peace process in Northern Ireland. Yet some lessons can be drawn from all parts of the world where unusual actions can link again culture and community to make peace conceivable again.

A lot depends on these bottom-up actions to promote peace as to what the future shall entail for children of this globe. Indeed, the murals children all over the world bring about together with what they experience in the process when painting them, that this is one of the most valuable heritages for the future.


People from all over the world are involved in Kids' Guernica

In Tallahassee, Florida, USA in January 2010 there came together

From Japan

Teruhiro Imamura

Kaoru Mizuguchi

Toshifume Abe

Takuya Kaneda, international coordinator

all from Japan

Ian Brown, Australia

Hatto Fischer (Athens/Greece and Berlin/Germany)

Thomas Economacas, (Athens, Greece)

Stavros Econamacas (Athens, Greece)

Savina Tarsitano (Calabri, Italy)

Asit Poddar (Kolkato, India)

Bernard Conlon (Belfast, Northern Ireland)

Deniz Hasirci (Izmir, Turkey)

Boris Tissot (Paris, France)

Juliette Tissot (Paris, France)

Rosa Naparstek (New York, USA)

Ann Kuo

Fatima Nawaz (Kabul, Afghanistan and Germany)

Valia Mhaish (Lebanon / USA)


While there are many others who could not make it, but are involved, such as

Iman Mourad (Lebanon)

Katia David and Pantelis Sabliotis in Berlin, Germany

Alex Zanna in Nancy, France

Sara Rosteck, Dubai

Jad Salman, Palestine and Paris, France

Monique Kissel, Paris

Kate Parker, London


Throughout the world above all the children and youths who have participated in a collaborative learning process to bring about another one of those astonishing peace murals should be recognized for sending such peace messages to the world.



Special events to mark 15th anniversary of Kids' Guernica - since 1995

At the start of 2010 there was held a memorial kind of exhibition in Nagasaki with children painting a mural at ‘ground zero’. Images of that exhibition can be seen at




Toshifumi Abe, Prof.

At Osaka Women's junior college

e-mail: abe4211@me.com


This was followed by the exhibition in Tallahassee, Florida organised by Tom Anderson.

In March 2010 an exhibition took place in Rumania as reported on the international website www.kids-guernica.org

with a festival to take place on Ubud, Bali in August. Other activities shall be reported later on.


^ Top

« Philosophy behind Kids' Guernica - Guernica Youth - Hatto Fischer | Messages of the peace murals »