Art as Therapy for the Trauma of War

This is a grouping of films with the common thread of how art has been used throughout history as therapy for the trauma of war. The series of films begins with documentation of prisoner of war camps in World War !!, when the YMCA distributed 21,000 blank log books for prisoners to record images and thoughts. The next clip focuses on Terezin, a concentration camp that housed Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, an art teacher who helped children to remember the beauty of a world no longer accessible to them. In a cameo appearance, noted pioneer art therapist Edith Kramer states that Friedl was her teacher, and perished at Auschwitz. The adult artists in Terezin, who were made to illustrate propaganda for reports to Germans, also made art about the real truth of Terezin, knowing that if these drawings were found they were would be killed.

Clips featuring Simon Wiesenthal and Charlotte Salomon note the urgency to document and witness the traumatic events as they unfolded. Memories from Hiroshima are drawn by survivors who are compelled to tell their stories visually. A large number of artists emerged from the War in Vietnam as veterans used art as an emotional language for exorcism of intense feelings. Many of these individuals were reluctant to show their work, but have been persuaded to exhibit at the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago. The final film, Children the Crossfire, documents toy photographer Brian McCarty’s work with children caught in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

Total Running Time: 1 hour, 6 minutes, 56 seconds



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