As They Saw It – Ukrainian Children Witnessing the Horrors of War

July 14, 2022

“Visual imagery has long been an accompaniment to wartime. Children’s drawings represent their daily lives and experiences during the war while conveying deep emotions of sorrow and fear. These children aren’t simply bystanders to the war—they have faced displacement, trauma, and the horrors of violence. The drawings in [the Mom, I See War archive] tackle gut-wrenching moments of brutality and loss. Yet, buried within these drawings is a call for peace. The imagery in Ukraine challenges us as educators to reframe the standard narrative of war and embrace profound human understandings to help contextualize the ways in which we teach and learn.” – Ami Kanthavala, a journalist and professor of art at Columbia University.

A team of Ukrainians from creative and digital sectors embarked on a digital project called “Mom, I See War” with the aim of providing a platform for Ukrainian children to express their experiences of war in their country through art. This initiative seeks to capture the profound emotional and complex sentiments that children have towards their past and present in relation to the war. Their artwork serves as a powerful commentary on the realities of war, as seen through the eyes of these young artists.

In a conversation published in the esteemed journal “Art Education” by the National Art Education Association, co-founder Olha Kulinich and communication manager Revide Ziiatdinova delve into the origins of the project and its underlying intentions. The dialogue offers insights into the project’s inception and its mission to give voice to Ukrainian children affected by war through their artistic expressions.