Boston College Hosts Exhibit of Drawings by the Children of Darfur

Mar 17, 2009, 15:25 ET from Boston College

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass., March 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Drawings created by refugee children who escaped the violence in Darfur are on exhibit at Boston College's Gargan Hall through March 27. The drawings are part of a collection of some 500 drawings that have been submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as evidence of war crimes perpetrated by Sudanese officials against the people of Darfur.


The exhibition, organized by the UK-based human rights organization Waging Peace, has been shown throughout the world to raise awareness about the crisis in Darfur.

The origins of the exhibition began in the summer of 2007 when Waging Peace researcher Anna Schmitt went to Chad to assess the region's humanitarian, human rights and security situation and collect testimonies from Darfuri refugees and others displaced by the ongoing violence.

Schmitt began speaking with children, giving them paper and pencils and asking them to describe in pictures their strongest memories, as well as their hopes and dreams for the future. She found that while some of the children's drawings dwelled on daily life in the village or refugee camp, most depicted -- in graphic detail -- attacks on their village by Sudanese government forces and their allied Janjaweed militia: adult men being killed; women being shot, beaten and taken prisoner; babies being thrown on fires; and government helicopters and planes bombing civilians.

The actions shown in the drawings, according to Waging Peace, "directly contradict the Government of Sudan's version of events over the last four years of bloodshed."

Boston College Graduate School of Social Work Associate Prof. Paul Kline, who has worked with children and adults coping with the effects of war and other forms of violence, says the artwork -- for all its disturbing imagery -- represents a cause for optimism, as well as a call for action.

"Each picture is an expression of hope created at a moment when a child, through art, overcame fear and despair and asked the world to listen and take action," he explains. "The pictures are evidence of the remarkable capacity that even young children have to search their world for good people who will listen to their story and help them to cope. As citizens of the same world that these children call home, they are, of course, shouting to us."

The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, contact

SOURCE Boston College