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If you are wondering what is happening with the Inside-Outside Project, we have been posting our updates on our Facebook page instead of here.

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

 

140528-DG-5283226So, it turns out that developing and printing almost a hundred fine art prints is not so simple, but finally, the Kickstarter reward prints are ready. We’ve finished calibrating the printer, printing the test prints, then the real prints, and then recording the edition information. We have printed and signed certificates of authenticity, found packaging, found protective cardboard, and now we’re printing the ‘thank you’ letters. Mieke plans to address each one — my handwriting would send them all to Uzbekistan, I fear.

Thank you, everyone, for your patience. The prints are on their way.

Art supplies and Turkish coffee in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

Art supplies and Turkish coffee in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

We’ve returned to the US from Turkey, and while I won’t speak for David, I’ve been walking around in a thick fog of jet lag. That fog, combined with a healthy dose of cultural shock, has left me feeling unmoored and dislocated — suspended between two worlds. So before my heart settles completely, I wanted to write a blog post about some of our final experiences in Turkey, in a city called Kahramanmaras.

In Kahramanmaras, we were fortunate to have both Khalid and Ezgi Içöz with us. Ezgi is an art therapist from Istanbul, and she and Khalid paired up to create a fantastic series of art therapy sessions for the kids:

Ezgi during an art therapy session at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, by Mieke Strand

Ezgi during an art therapy session at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

Khalid during an art therapy session at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

Khalid during an art therapy session at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

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Students during an art therapy session in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

A student describes her drawing during an art therapy session in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

A student describes her drawing during an art therapy session in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

While Khalid and Ezgi were hard at work, David was taking portraits of other students on the roof of the school:

David photographing on the roof of a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

David photographing on the roof of a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by Mieke Strand

David also took photos of the kids coming into the school after break. They lined up like a choo-choo train and sang a song while entering the building.

Kids at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, by David Gross

Kids at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, by David Gross

Here’s one more photo David took of a group of girls inside the school:

Students at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by David Gross

Students at a Syrian school in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, by David Gross

We’ll add another blog post shortly to wrap up our final thoughts on our trip. After that, we’ll be focusing on creating the eBook and sending out our kickstarter rewards. Stay tuned!

Görüşürüz! -Mieke

As I mentioned in a previous post, we are fortunate that our friend Khalid has been leading many of our recent art sessions here in Gaziantep. Khalid has a true gift with children. His words transform their faces into delight — it is quite something to see. We’ve been recording video of him for the eBook, and we’ll be posting a few clips here. The first one, below, is a short example of Khalid instructing the kids on how to use a brush. (The video is in Arabic, but English speakers will get the general gist of it. We’ll be adding subtitles later.)

Khalid is also a photographer, and he took some photos of some of the children peering into our classroom from the courtyard. I really love them. He’s graciously let us share some with you here:

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Children at the Friendship School in Gaziantep, by Khalid Eid

Thanks again to Khalid!

Görüşürüz! -Mieke






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