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Get a closer look at the traveling exhibition WAR-TOYS: Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip

In WAR-TOYS: Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip, artist Brian McCarty’s photographic works interpret children’s drawings and offer a rare yet fascinating insight into the contemporary experiences of Palestinian and Israeli boys and girls. It has been touring since 2016 and will remain on the road for only six more months. You can still book it in your gallery, but in the meantime, take a closer look.

Viewers of WAR-TOYS see eighteen of the children’s drawings presented alongside twenty-two of McCarty’s photographs. Featuring locally found toys placed and posed in the actual locations described by the children, the photographs recreate shared fears and witnessed events while also documenting the plastic playthings available to boys and girls in each area. In the process of sharing their artwork, children would often reveal the details that were most important or impactful to them, but some elements were buried, as if to protect them. The viewers’ eyes will move back and forth from McCarty’s works to the children’s drawings, recognizing the similarities and differences, but most importantly, reading between the lines.

Youth Resistance Drawing Artist unknown, Youth Resistance Drawing, c. 2011; drawing, 11 x 24 inches

photograph of toys in war scene

Brian McCarty, Checkpoint, 2011; archival print, 17 x 26 inches

“By bearing witness through his artwork, McCarty provides the opportunity for otherwise silenced voices to be heard,” says Dr. Julia J.A.G. Byers, Professor of Art Therapy at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. “He asks us all to reflect on the innocence of childhood when it is surrounded and thwarted by human suffering. He asks us not to deny its existence but, rather, to question how to play—with resolve and resilience—in the face of such reality.”