“Mom, I Don’t Want War”: Traveling Exhibition of Ukrainian and Polish Children’s Artwork Depicting War Experiences

December 17, 2022

In 2022, a captivating exhibition showcasing children’s drawings from Ukraine and Poland, which juxtaposed the war in Ukraine and World War II, captured the attention of audiences worldwide. The event traveled to numerous cities, including New York, Washington, Bogota, Berlin, Paris, Milan, Prague, Stockholm, Lisbon, Islamabad, Kuwait, Copenhagen, Nicosia, New Delhi, Santiago, Tirana, Bratislava, and many others. In fact, the exposition was opened in over 50 countries, creating a global impact and fostering cross-cultural dialogue. The exhibition served as a poignant reminder of the impact of war on young minds and united diverse communities in a shared reflection on the devastating consequences of armed conflicts.

“Polish and Ukrainian children draw very similar things: airplanes, tanks, bombing. It is a very painful experience for children, what the Ukrainian people are currently experiencing due to Russian aggression. This cruel situation is not just similar, it is well known to us from the history of Poland,” said Mariusz Olczak, director of the New Files Archive in Poland.

The exhibition “Mom, I Don’t Want War” is a collaborative project between the Polish State Archives, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, Ukrainian Embassies in various countries, and the “Mom, I See War” initiative. Its purpose is to portray the realities of war through the perspective of children. The exhibition features a distinctive combination of drawings created by Polish children during the Second World War, which are preserved in the Archive of New Acts in Warsaw. Additionally, it showcases contemporary drawings from Ukrainian children collected through the “Mom, I See War” initiative. The project has released a catalog of children’s drawings, which can be viewed via the link.