|First Austrian contribution in August 2002 and exposition in Vorarlberg from July to October 03
|In August 2002, 18 children from Vorarlberger Kinderdorf and from SOS Kinderdorf have followed the invitation of A Child's World (Welt der Kinder) and did contribute to Kids Guernica through painting the first Austrian piece.
These children worked together
from SOS Kinderdorf:
Theresa Di Pauli (born in 1989)
Angela Kristan (born in 1989)
Alexandera Spiegel (born in 1989)
Monja Thaller (born in 1990)
Rebecca Muster (born in 1991)
Irena Proc (born in 1991)
Alexandra Bauer (born in 1991)
Jonathan Adler (born in 1993)
from Vorarlberger Kinderdorf:
Jaqueline Lebar (born in 1989)
Jacqueline Schiferer-Walch (born in 1989)
Jennifer Koretic (born in 1993)
Nadine Stadelmann (born in 1992)
Nicole Blattner (born in 1992)
Roman Eder (born in 1990)
Michael Eder (born in 1991)
Benjamin Pak (born in 1991)
Markus Pregl (born in 1990)
Lukas Turk (born in 1991)
Other Supporters who did care for the children (food, games and etc)
|Schonenbach - the site of the Austrian Kids Guernica
Few people know that the idea of the childrens home started originally in Vorarlberg, in a mountain area, where children after World War II were brought together to recover from the War and to spend some holidays. The historical site Schonenbach, where everything started, is still owned by the Vorarlberger Kinderdorf, and the infrastructure has remained very simple and beautiful. This was the place, where the children spent one week together painting and reflecting on peace and constructive ways of solving conflicts.
The initiative for the workshop had been taken by the NGO A Child's World, who annualy organises an international conference on Childhood and Trauma, together with its partner organisations Vorarlberger and SOS Kinderdorf, Institute for Social Services and Caritas.
A Child's World is as well exposing Kids Guernica in several communities in Vorarlberg from July to October 2003. In the year 2002, two of the conference speakers, Dan Bar On / Israel and his Palestinian colleague and friend Sami Adwan informed us about Kids Guernica, when the paintings were exposed in Bruneck / Italy in 2001/02. The children and grand-children of Dan Bar On and Sami Adwan had contributed to the Palestinian-Israeli workshop in Italy, and as the content of Kids Guernica is closely related to what we do in our work, we decided to bring part of the paintings to Vorarlberg in 2003.
|The workshop of the first Austrian Kids Guernica painting
As a preparation of Kids' Guernicas' exposition we invited children of our partner organisations, SOS Kinderdorf and Vorarlberger Kinderdorf, to paint the first Austrian contribution. Both organisations very soon agreed, and together we organised it for the last week of August 2002.
As the two groups of children did not know each other before, and all of them had already experienced very challenging situations in their lifes, the beginning has been a very strong process of facing the questions of living together in peace. The usual way of the children to solve conflicts seemed to be very practical and physical. Thus, the most moving questions for the artists and pedagogues were, how the issue of peace could not only be adressed in the painting, but lived together throughout a whole week. Games and exercices helped to prepare the painting itself, but as well to canalise aggression and to express and let go of anger and grief.
"Peace starts within yourself", this was the message of the first evening. Every child would have to face a symbolic mirror in the end of the day, after having mixed the own peace nectar with different ingredients, like listening, identifying emotions in words, trust, friendship, limits, etc.
To find the right place and the right limits would be one of the most important issues, when the 18 girls and boys would divide the huge painting surface. In a first place, the two groups of children formed blocks who went into opposition to each other, but after some further exercices, grew a different structure. Soon islands started to grow from the cool blue of the grounding, and warm colours vibrated and covered the painting with animals, flowers, rivers and buildings. A smiling angel and a heart for two friends accompanied the sunflowers and the sun itself that turned into a multicolour waterfall.
But during the time, when the islands on the painting grew into an organic landscape, at the outside of the hall, the children formed again different groups and started to fight with each other. The morning of the fourth day seemed to distroy all what had been achieved through angry words and aggression. The extreme case seemed to be very close: that the peace painting would have to be destroyed or remain unfinished if it should be in accordance to what happened inside the children. But then, through an open dialogue, a process of reflection started and again, the initial questions were brought up: What is necessary for peace, which are the right limits and how is it possible to deal with emotion in a different way? It became possible to express this conflict in a creative process, the painting was changed as well and it gained in strength and intensity.
In the end, 13 years old Theresa said: "We have been doing something together, and we have met new friends. What we have painted, I think, it were the dreams of every single person, how we would wish it should be. For example we have painted rivers and trees, pastures and mountains, animals like we hoped they could be. It gave us hope. And the wish to contribute, that our world could get alike."
For all of the participants, the children and the four adults who had accompanied them, it has been a challenging, strong and beautiful experience. At the end of the week, the children would have liked to stay much longer and they will be happy to return and work together for next years Activity Programme.
|Childhood and Trauma III (Welt der Kinder) and the Exposition of the Painting
The painting has been exposed for the first time at the Symposium Childhood and Trauma from the 24th to the 27th of October in Schwarzenberg. The conference is dedicated to an experts exchange and the networking of organisations working in about 30 countries for traumatised children. Together with the international experts (like Claude Anshin Thomas, Dan Bar On, Gertrude Bogyi, Hans Keilson, Werner Leixnering, Sheila Melzak, Yassaman Montazami, Franz Resch, Valerie Sinason, Jochen Walter etc.) we try to develop strategies of prevention of trauma and trainings for people who are in touch with traumatised children, as well as doing lobbying and awareness raising in the society.
The aim of this conference is to allow a shared process of learning on the necessities in social, political and therapeutic intervention on behalf of traumatised children, and is focussing on cultural differences in coping strategies. The aim is to contribute to a process of prevention and peace building for our children through considering the complexity of influences (from individual to political, media, culture, religion and arts) and the long term effects of trauma experienced in childhood.
Childhood and Trauma takes place every autumn, on the last weekend of October, in Schwarzenberg, about two hours drive from Zurich, Switzerland. (www.schwarzenberg.at, 23rd to 26th of Oct. 03).
|Documentation of Kids Guernica
|Peter Stachl, the artist of Graz, collected a precious treasure in Schonenbach. He did about hundred hours of documentation of the workshop, and of how the Kids Guernica-painting was made. Every detail, all the atmospheres, scenes of perfect concentration, of overwhelming joy and of high tension and conflict have been transferred to the videotape. Peter Stachl hopes to find the finances to make a film out of the workshop and contribute to the publicity of Kids Guernica.
|The Exposition of Kids Guernica in Vorarlberg July to October 2003