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Painting for Peace: Kids Guernica project
an article by Alba Sanfeliu

More than 200 children between 4 and 18 years old from the Federation of Neighbourhood Associations of Manresa (Barcelona ) participated in the past year in an international children's artproject called Kids Gernica, intiated by the Municipal Council of Solidarity of the City of Manresa. The initiative was born in Japan to raise awareness and spread the culture of peace to children through artistic expression, encouraging them to design and paint peace murals based on that of Guernica by Pablo Ruiz Picasso.

click on photo to enlarge

The work was carried out in two phases. The first was a workshop to reflect on conflicts and peace, through several activities for the children. They were then asked to draw a picture about peace, and afterwards they were presented the picture of 'Guernica'. They also looked at the exhibition 'Drawing armed conflicts, drawing peace' consisting of drawings by children in countries affected by armed conflict, which got them to talk about the war and peace in general terms, and to focus the analysis to the present context. Through dialogue, everyday situations were identified as peace and violence situations and what can be done to promote peace. Then they watched the short film 'Chalk Horses' by David Canovas on the arrival of war in a country .

Once all the drawings were made about peace, we asked the help of the artist Susanna Ayala to make a final composition using the most representative elements of peace drawn by the children themselves. The design was then printed on fabric as an outline form, starting a second phase in which children painted the mural with paint.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the end of WWII there was a presentation of the international project in the city of Nagasaki , from 6 to August 10, 2013. The mural from Manresa along with other murals from Nagasaki and Japan, China, India and Romania, was shown by the river where hundreds died seeking shelter from the nuclear bombing in 1945. On October 5, the mural was presented in the city of Manresa and for the rest of the year and during 2014 it will be displayed at various locations around the city.

(Click here for a Spanish version of this article)


Question(s) related to this article:

Do the arts create a basis for a culture of peace?, What is, or should be, their role in our movement?

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Latest reader comment:

Yes, the arts do create a basis for a culture of peace.
The question I would raise is where are the visual artists who have produced a Guernica like painting of Felluja? Paintings last longer than photographs which are too often fleeting.
Do the poets against the war meet annually?
I caught a bit of an interesting tv show which featured world class artists such as Wole Soyinka speaking in Israel/Palestine about ways to further the peace movement there. Did anyone else see the entire show?
I hope a local Peace Day could emulate the UN opening ceremony .

This report was posted on October 14, 2013.