Author: David

This year I was invited this year to speak and show at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco. For three months, they showed large prints of the portraits of the children alongside captioned drawings by the kids. And, I got to speak to members!

Here’s the video of their initial interview with me. And, just recently, Jarrod Sport kindly made an edit of the video of my lecture, and he has provided a full, unedited version, as well.

The work on the archive of drawings has begun. Years ago, I sat with Lorenzo Virguli and a bottle of red wine, and we came up with the idea of an international archive of children’s drawings of war. The archive would be for the public, for scholars, and for anyone who wanted to better understand war. Despite the passage of time, I have not given up on this idea.

That is why I’m working to establish guidelines for scanning the artwork this project creates that would be useful for such an archive.

Please, if you have ideas or want to contribute, let me know.

I found a very complete document, the US national archives document: Technical Guidelines for Digitizing Archival Materials for Electronic Access:  Creation of Production Master Files – Raster Images. However, I’m not sure ordinary people will scan and document hundreds of scans of children’s artwork to this level of complexity. So, I’m looking to strip it down — to find the minimum necessary to make this work.

Scanning a postcard with the simplest scale and white balance indicator.

Scanning a postcard with the simplest scale and white balance indicator.

I’ve already discovered exactly why a color calibration strip is so important! The Epson scanning software, when set on automatic (as most people will use it), changed the colors of a drawing dramatically (from purple to red). Anyone who wants to see what colors children use in this context — and researchers do! — will need to see the real colors.

We do need to limit the metadata to something realistic. I figure the basics are:

  • unique ID
  • first name of artist
  • age of artist
  • school of artist (if applicable)
  • city/country of artist
  • if drawing in response to another drawing, ID of that drawing
  • medium (gouache, watercolor, pencil, paper, etc.)
  • dimensions (width x height)

If anyone has suggestions, I would like to hear them!

Four portraits from our project were shown at an exhibition for the Conference on the Syrian Refugee Situation at the German Federal Foreign Office and the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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The conference took place at the Federal Foreign Office and was attended by representatives of around 40 countries and international organisations.

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The photos got a great response; they were seen by visiting heads of state, UNICEF, and others. Your support has now touched some rather important people!

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Thanks to Nora Gissel for the photographs.

 

The Syrian refugee crisis now includes over 3 million people who have fled Syria, according to the U.N. The New York Times has a good summary of what the U.N. is calling “the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.”

Meanwhile, another 6.5 million people are stuck in Syria between al Nusra, IS, FSA, and the Syrian government.

Wonder what life is like for these people? See the drawings our children made.

National Geographic Proof, the photography blog of the National Geographic Magazine, featured our work today at http://proof.nationalgeographic.com/2014/08/13/david-gross-captures-artistic-expressions-of-syrian-refugee-children/

Their piece discusses David’s thoughts on creating the work and what it means, with some of the better anecdotes from the trip.

It’s good publicity, too!

The Torches of Freedom school in Kahramanmaraş is in trouble. They don’t have enough money to pay their yearly rent, and the school is threatened with closure! Everything is even harder with the recent anti-refugee riots in the south of Turkey. If you can help out, please contact Mrs. Sanabl Marandi immediately at h.j.hajji43@nullgmail.com

The amount required for this problem is only 7000 Turkish Lira, near $3,500. This may not be much for you —  but it will let the school help hundreds of kids over the next year.

The German non-profit organization Bildung International (founded by a journalist friend of ours) can also help with this problem. Contact Anne-Beatrice Clasmann for more information at  anne-beatrice.clasmann@nullweb.de.

If you want to donate directly to the Free Syria school, you can try to write them (in Arabic) via their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/FreeSyriaSchool.

 

For smaller donations, here is the Torches of Freedom school in Kahramanmaraş information:

Attn: Sanabl Marandi
Akif Inan Mah.
Murat Apt. Kat 3 No 7
Merkez/Kahramanmaras, Turkey

For donations in EURO:
IBAN TR 45 0020 5000 0083 8185 3001 02
Swift Code: KTEFTRISXXX

For donations in Turkish Lira:
IBAN TR 56 0020 5000 0083 8185 3000 01

For donations in US Dollars:
IBAN TR 72 0020 5000 0083 8185 3001

 

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