When you imagine a child’s drawing, do you usually imagine a sunny sky, or maybe a puppy, or a picture of them with their family scribbled in crayon? This innocent art is not the reality for all children in the world, as many children do not share the same safety as their counterparts in other nations.
The Ukrainian National Museum in Chicago showcased a recent exhibit titled “Mom, I Don’t Want War,” which ran from Jan. 20 to Feb. 28. The installation explored the ongoing struggle in Ukraine through the eyes of children, according to Window to the World Communications (WTTC), Chicago.
The art collection, which also featured pieces of photography, is mainly focused on the exhibition of drawings made by children growing up in an active war zone. The exhibit not only shows the works of contemporary Ukrainian children, but juxtaposes the art with that of Polish children made during World War II.
The exhibit was made possible through a partnership between Consulate General of Poland in Chicago, the Polish Museum of America and the Consulate General of Ukraine in Chicago.
The visual works are accompanied by live musical performances by The Academy of Music of the Paderewski Symphony Orchestra and the Ukrainian Vocal Group “
Many people are acknowledging the striking similarities between the art of the Ukrainian and Polish children, and how it highlights the universal fear and uncertainty of growing up in such an environment, reports WTTW.
“Creating art throughout a time of serious war is such a tragically beautiful thing. It’s nice to see how art can comfort people, especially children, while also preserving history that is happening in real time,” said junior Chris Conte.
“The irony of history repeating itself is pretty jarring in this exhibit. Seeing that children in Poland suffered the same realities as these kids in the Ukraine is so upsetting, seeing that people continue to put innocent lives in the middle of international disputes,” said Conte.
Also present at the exhibit were members of the legion of Young Polish Women, offering words of support to those affected by the war and sharing their contributions to aid refugees of the war.
Aside from the awareness of day-to-day struggles of Ukrainian citizens that exhibit has garnered, the museum is also finding ways to support the nation financially.
All donations collected by the museum go directly to the Ukrainian Women’s Association of America, an organization dedicated to providing Ukrainian children with happy and healthy childhoods. The organization is currently supporting the City of Goodness in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, a facility that provides shelter and care to victims of the war.
Partially motivated by the success of the exhibit, the Ukrainian National Museum in Chicago has fundraised over $100,000 thus far, reports WTTC.
Junior Grace Posillico said, “There is something so powerful about seeing the war through the eyes of kids. I’m sure the exhibit is even more moving in person, but the concept itself reminds me how kids’ lives are being affected by this every day. It’s heartbreaking.”
“There is something comforting in the fact that something beautiful can be made of this suffering, and that the art is able to raise relief funds for those affected by the war,” said Posillico.
According to ABC7, although the exhibit itself has run its duration, the art was preserved in the Polish archives via the “Mom, I Don’t Want War” portal, along with the art presented from the World War II period. The portal has received 13,500 images so far.