The Survival and Art of the Children of Gaza
What a pleasure (albeit a back-handed one) to see these drawings by children in Gaza. A pertinent reminder of the fundamentality of visual response, the resilience of children, and the spirit-based definition of human nature as espoused by Carl Jung, these drawings are a confirmation of the human need to document and communicate important experiences in life through art.
The politics of the Israeli/Palestinian issue aside, (as there are no doubt drawings by Israeli children that respond to the rockets that land in their neighborhoods) these drawings by the children of Gaza, which turned up via a Facebook ‘friend,’ turned out to be a lot more interesting and provocative than the usual party pics/art show announcements touted by ‘social networking’ sites.
Beyond the local and international contemporary art scene there are a lot of children around the world growing up in war torn environments and living side by side with horrific violence. And these environments, although not exclusively in underdeveloped countries, are mainly found in countries that don’t always have the resources to provide art supplies for the children who survive physically, and need to survive psychically.
Just how the aesthetic responses of the children of Gaza to extreme and ongoing violence dovetail with the (usually slightly older) children who strap on bombs, train to fight as ‘insurgents,’ or who play video games like ‘Grand Theft Auto’ or ‘Badge of Honor’ isn’t so clear. If anything is clearly confirmed by these drawings it would have to be that children, whether in Sudan or Chicago (apparently), can survive and thrive in the face of their own particular adversity; especially if they are given the opportunity to practice art and reap the rewards of its redeeming therapeutic value.
Like most children’s art these drawings and others like them from the children of Gaza are vivid and real; a pure and direct communication. And among other things, for professional artists they could serve as a reminder that art practices are far more universal, and perhaps in many cases far more functional, in the real world than the art world (or market), in which we so often seem to exist[.]
This text was contributed by David Rohn