Since its inception the Puffin Room has hosted a multitude of exhibitions dealing with issues of world peace and social justice. Documenting Lifestyles brought together Israeli and Palestinian teenagers whose photographic essays attempted to straddle the gulf of hatred between their cultures. The Weavings of War exhibited textiles documenting warfare in Peru, Afghanistan and Vietnam, where violence was woven into the fabric of life. The Spirit Lives and Shouts From the Wall presented compelling images and posters from the Spanish Civil War. When Will They Ever Learn juxtaposed children's drawings from Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia with drawings by refugee children from Spain in 1938.
With Shocked and Awed we again present children's drawings. These drawings by Iraqi children were created in Baghdad only weeks after the intense bombardment of the city ceased. Through innocent eyes, these drawings depict the madness of adults and the horror and terror the children witnessed.
The drawings display a wide range of technique and imagery. Several are rich in symbolism while others are simple matchstick drawings of fighting soldiers. One ten-year-old boy's pencil drawing of a U.S. Marine tank is done with the accuracy and precision of an automotive designer. In another the sun is crying and written is "Wher's the Water." Yet another states succinctly, "We are Not Gilty." Many of the drawings illustrate the map of Iraq with a heart in its center. Many of the girls' drawings curiously depict a weeping blonde girl surrounded by carnage and destruction. Some of the drawings welcome the U.S. troops and their ouster of the tyrant Saddam Hussein.
It is my hope that many people will see these images to better understand that there are no 'smart bombs.' Children and innocents have been killed, crippled, maimed and orphaned by this war. War is not a football game. There are no winners. War represents the worst of human nature.
Executive Director, The Puffin Room
July 20, 2003
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