Photo exhibition of conflict affected children’s photos– All We Want is Peace!
“I took photos of destroyed and burnt houses. They make me feel very sad. My house is burnt too and it breaks my heart…. I can’t go back to my village, where I spent all my childhood, it was all burnt! I left my memories and favorite toys in my house”
“The pictures presented at this exhibition are amazing and well reflect the pain and sorrow these talented young photographers experienced during the conflict days and afterwards”, said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “Most of these children may not become professional photographers but the skills gained and the sense of self-confidence acquired during the photo workshop will somehow influence their lives” Barberis added.
The photos for the exhibition were selected as a result of a five-day photography workshop held in October 2008 for 22 children of age 10–17 in the town of Gori, heavily bombarded during the recent conflict in and around South Ossetia, Georgia. The seminar was organized by UNICEF, the local NGO Biliki and was facilitated by the UNICEF photographer Giacomo Pirozzi. The seminar involved children from Gori and nearby villages affected by the conflict. Some of the children were IDPs whose houses were burnt and destroyed and some of them even lost their close relatives during the shelling. The workshop aimed at equipping the children with basic skills in photography as well as helped them to recover from the traumatic experience.
During the first two days of the training children learned about the basics of photography and they were given digital cameras from UNICEF. The third day children went out to take photos. They visited IDP collective centres, schools and villages damaged during the hostilities.
“I have been waiting for this for two days,” said 13 years old Teona Menabdishvili from Gori. “And now I can finally take photos. We went to the kindergarten housing IDPs. As I spoke with them, I realized that I didn’t really understand what they went through. I saw their eyes and faces that radiated hope. Most of them had no houses. They were assuring us that everything would be allright. Houses around are rebuilt and this somehow buries the unfortunate races of the war but they can’ t be deleted from poor people’s hearts. Taking these photos and looking at this destroyed area breaks our hearts”.
“My photos show how people live after the war and what they feel and what they worry about”, said 11 years old Omari Baliashvili from Gori. “I’ve been through the war and I thought Gori stopped existence. I saw them destroying and burning Gori on TV. I thought I would never be able to go back home. But the burnt houses were reconstructed and some of the families even returned to their houses.”
“I took a photo of the sky as it brings peace”, said Melano Pisadze from Gori
“I took a photo of the sky as it brings peace”, said Melano Pisadze from Gori, “Every time I look at the sky I get comfortable and calm. I feel bad as I see burnt houses and shops. I never thought something like this could have happened to Georgia.”
“We would like to have our hats off to these children and wish that their desire for peace comes true. We do hope they have many more opportunities ahead to fully realize their potential,” said Giovanna Barberis.
For further information, please contact:
Maya Kurtsikidze, Communication Officer, UNICEF Georgia