International Journal of Art & Design Education

Croatian and Bosnian Children's Art in Times of War

Volume 13.3   1994



This paper looks at the effect of the destruction of homes, displacement of families, and 'ethnic cleansing' on the artistic expression of thirty five children aged 4 to 12 who were 'deposited' in Zagreb in September 1991. The children are mainly from Croatia with a few from Bosnia. In an attempt to offer them some form of control over their negative experiences (and the dreams, memories and traumas these occasion), a supportive climate of trust and discussion was offered, in which drawing and painting materials were available and used. The work is being studied by focusing on two age groups - 4 to 7 and 7 to 11. We are very much aware of trying to give them the means by which they can rediscover a positive self image in order to battle against their self-destructive and negative sense of self. I feel we are learning as much as we are helping.