“We are for peace”: exhibition of drawings from children living on both sides of the conflict line in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts presents many, sometimes unknown and surprising aspects of the war in the East of Ukraine, its consequences to the affected children’s lives and their dreams of a more peaceful world. The project wants to promote dialogue as a better alternative to the still widespread war rhetoric and enhances space for peace by supporting meaningful co-operation between actors on both sides.
The aim of the exhibition “We are for peace” is to display the genuine feelings of vulnerable and especially talented children living on both sides of the conflict line in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. How does the war affect their lives? What are their experiences, fears, dreams and hopes? What do the topics “peace”, “peaceful world” or “the world I want to live in” mean to them? More than 500 children between 4 and 17 years old in 10 locations (Luhansk, Donetsk, Starobelsk, Severodonetsk, Belokurakino, Novopskov, Kramatorsk, Dobropillya, Kyiv and Brovary) participated in the project and provided their personal answers to these questions in the form of drawings and other forms of art. 80 drawings, 40 from both sides of the conflict line, were selected for the exhibition. While genuinity was the most important selection criteria, aesthetical aspects and a balanced representation of both sides played a role as well.
The result is a surprising collection of issues representing many of the horrific aspects of the war in the East, such as: life under shelling, hiding in a basement, return of combatants from the front to their families and communities, loss of parents, displacement, mines/UXOs, destruction of buildings or experiences of combat. Some of the participants have dealt with the topic in a more abstract approach, expressing their ideas of peace as images of the sea, nature or beautiful landscape. But mostly, the drawings represent in the most creative, diverse and positive way the deep hope for a peaceful, colorful and bright future, where people and nations share the world in harmony with each other.
Organizers: Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine in partnership with SOS Children’s Villages Ukraine (Kiev, Kiev region and Luhansk) as well as NGO “Youth Organization Maximal” (Donetsk).