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“Mom, I don’t want war!” – Polish-Ukrainian Archival Project: 1939-45 Poland / 2022 Ukraine

Art and Heritage in Central Europe

The project presents incredibly moving testimonies of war – from historical drawings of Polish children from 1946, which are a record of their experiences during World War II and the German occupation of 1939-1945, preserved in the Central Archives of Modern Records (AAN) in Warsaw, in the Ministry of Education complex from 1945-1966, and contemporary drawings of Ukrainian children, related to the war currently taking place in Ukraine, collected on the “Mom, I See War” portal. The project aims to show that war always looks the same through the eyes of a child. Irrespective of place and time, it is a huge evil, and the child is always the victim of it. The similarity between historical and present-day drawings is striking. Children draw tanks, planes dropping bombs, fires, and explosions. They draw the injured and the dead, the ruined houses, the graves. They draw themselves and their family, they draw evacuation and escape. But they also draw hope and their dreams for the future. By putting images and words together in thematic groups: fighting, occupation, family, repression, resistance, destruction, victory-hope, we want to emphasise the fact of how similar the scenarios of the invading wars are. The time changes, the place changes, the child witnesses change, but the war is always the same.

Design and concept: dr Dorota Sadowska (University of Warsaw), Mariusz Olczak (Central Archives of Modern Records)
Preparation and realisation: prof. Olha Kulinich (Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv),
Daria Koval (Mom, I See War project), Mariusz Olczak (Central Archives of Modern Records), dr Dorota Sadowska (University of Warsaw)
Graphic design: Beata Świerczyńska (Central Archives of Modern Records)

Sources of drawings and texts:
– Central Archives of Modern Records (AAN) in Warsaw
– Project „Mom, I See War/Мамо, я бачу війну”, Ukraine, Kiev: https://momiseewar.com/

More information: https://momidontwantwar.eu/en/

Outdoor exhibition of reproductions of chosen artworks is now (or will be soon) presented in Bielsko-Biała, Częstochowa, Ełk, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Kalisz, Kielce, Koszalin, Malbork, Olsztyn, Płock, Poznań, Przemyśl, Siedlce, Toruń, Warszawa, Zielona Góra oraz Białystok, Kraków, Leszno, Lublin, Opole, Piotrków Trybunalski, Rzeszów, Sandomierz, Suwałki, Szczecin, Tomaszów Mazowiecki and Wrocław.

The exhibition is available until 30 September 2022. Venues and precise dates of exhibition for each venue is available here: https://www.archiwa.gov.pl/zobacz-wystawe-mamo-ja-nie-chce-wojny/

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