Amsterdam City Hall is currently hosting a thought-provoking exhibition called “War Diaries,” shedding light on the harsh realities faced by children caught in the Ukraine war. This captivating exhibition showcases an array of writings, photos, and videos, all created by young Ukrainian children, providing a poignant insight into their unique experiences amidst the conflict.
Among the young artists featured in the exhibition is Mykola Kostenko, a talented 15-year-old who recounts his personal encounter with the war. Utilizing nothing but a blue ballpoint pen and torn notebook paper, Kostenko’s drawings vividly capture the distressing moments of being under siege in the port city of Mariupol. Such raw and evocative artwork serves as an outlet for the young artist to cope with and remember the traumatic events he endured.
According to curator Katya Taylor, the exhibition aims to shed light on the significance of diaries and art as a form of therapy for children impacted by war. The diaries and artwork allow them to process their emotions and traumatic experiences, acting as vital coping mechanisms during such trying times.
Sadly, the Ukraine war has claimed the lives of more than 500 innocent children, and it poses a severe risk to the mental health of an estimated 1.5 million children. The consequences of this conflict have been so grave that the International Criminal Court has even issued arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights. The warrants hold them accountable for abductions that have taken place in the region.
For young artists like Kostenko, drawing and painting have become powerful tools for healing and remembrance. The therapeutic nature of creating art allows them to navigate their emotions and express their experiences in ways that words sometimes fail to capture.
The exhibition also features the poignant work of 10-year-old Yehor Kravtsov, who, through his diary entries, reveals his profound desire to become a chef. Kravtsov hopes to bring happiness and ultimately end the devastating war that has impacted the lives of countless children.
“War Diaries” serves as a reminder of the deep-rooted impact of war on the lives of children. By showcasing their powerful stories through art, the exhibition not only raises awareness but also provides a platform for healing, understanding, and change.
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