Artwork by Mariia, 10 years old, Vasylkiv, Kyiv region via ”Mom I See War.”

Friday, November 11, 2022

Northeastern Illinois University will host the international art exhibit “Mom, I don’t want war” in the Student Union on the University’s Main Campus, 5500 N. St. Louis Ave., now through Nov. 18 during normal building hours.

The exhibit features children’s art made in Poland during World War II and the German occupation from 1939-1945; children’s art from Ukraine was made during its current war with Russia and collected through the “Mom, I See War” portal. 

“We aim to show that war always looks the same through the eyes of a child,” curators Dorota Sadowska of the University of Warsaw and Olha Kulinich of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, said in a statement. “Irrespective of place and time, it is a huge evil, and the child is always the victim of it.” 

Northeastern will also welcome Consul General of Ukraine H.E. Koledov Serhiy and Consul General of Poland H.E. Pawel Zyzak for a conversation with Northeastern faculty members about the historical context of the art, human rights and children's rights during war, and art in response to violence. The discussion will be held at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16 in the Golden Eagles room of the Student Union. The exhibit and discussion are free and open to the public.

The discussion will be moderated by Chair and Professor of Mathematics Lidia Filus, and Chair and Professor of Political Science Martyn De Bruyn. Panelists include Professor and Chair of History Chuck Steinwedel, Associate Professor of Justice Studies Rachel Birmingham and Professor Emerita of Psychology Saba Ayman Nolley.

“This exhibit of deeply moving works of art by children experiencing war, whether in Poland during World War II or in Ukraine at present, is a stark reminder of the horrors of war,” De Bruyn said. 

The images from Poland were preserved in the Central Archives of Modern Records (AAN) in Warsaw and the Ministry of Education complex from 1945-1966. Through the “Mom, I See War” portal, children from across the world are encouraged to share their art about their experiences and feelings about war. The art will be auctioned online to provide aid to children in the midst of conflict. To date, more than 13,500 images have been received.

“By putting images and words together in thematic groups: fighting, occupation, family, repression, resistance, destruction, victory-hope, we want to emphasize the fact of how similar the scenarios of the invading wars are,” the statement continued. “The time changes, the place changes, the child witnesses change, but the war is always the same: ‘It cannot hear nor see, still less feel. - J.J. Letria.’”

Above image: Artwork by Mariia, 10 years old, Vasylkiv, Kyiv region via ”Mom I See War.”