Voices: An Exhibition of Darfuri Children’s Drawings

June 18–July 24, 2009

Voices: An Exhibition of Darfuri Children’s Drawings

A Darfuri child's illustrated answer to, “What is your strongest memory?”

In cooperation with Waging Peace, the AIGA National Design Center presents a selection of drawings by Darfuri children depicting vivid memories of violent attacks.

In 2007, Waging Peace researcher Anna Schmitt conducted a three-week mission in Eastern Chad to assess the humanitarian, human rights and security situation in the region and to collect testimonies from Darfuri refugees and displaced Chadians.

While collecting testimonies from adults, women told Anna how their children had witnessed horrendous events when their villages were being attacked, prompting Anna to talk to the children. She gave the children aged 6 to 18 paper and pencils and asked them what their dreams were for the future and what their strongest memory was.

When the children handed Anna their drawings, she was shocked to see the details of their memories of the attacks. While a handful of children had submitted drawings of daily life in the village or in the refugee camp, the majority of the drawings described the attacks on their village by Sudanese Government forces and their allied Janjaweed militia.

The 500 drawings collected by Waging Peace amount to a form of criminal evidence from silent witnesses. The killings, bombing and looting shown in the drawings directly contradict the Government of Sudan's version of events over the last four years.

In November 2007, the drawings were accepted by the International Criminal Court as contextual evidence of the crimes committed in Darfur, and as such they will be used in the trials of the accused, as a graphic illustration of the atrocities. These visual records serve as testament to the power of visual communication.

About Waging Peace

Waging Peace campaigns against genocide and systematic human rights abuses. The organization has a particular focus on Africa, on atrocities overlooked by the international community and where minorities have been persecuted on racial or religious grounds.