Among the many words and voices emerging from this conflict there are very few, if any, coming from those who experience it the most keenly - the region's children.
These paintings were created by children in South Ossetia during late 2006 and 2007 and also ten years earlier, while the memories of the previous battle for Tskhinvali (1991-2) were still strong in their minds. The children are both Georgian and Ossetian, some living in Tskhinvali, some in Atchabeti (a Georgian village about 5 km north of Tskhinvali). Both regions have recently come under heavy military attack - by the adults. So far the condition of Atchabeti school (positioned right next to a Georgian military base) is unknown - as is the Youth Palace, right in the centre of Tskhinvali. Due to the current difficulty in finding information, the same must be said for the artists themselves - although most, if not all, are almost certainly refugees.
Children receive the horror of war on a more acute, phenomenological level than adults. While their ability to mythologise it is more sophisticated and flexible, they are also more vulnerable to trauma. They will now need a warm and receptive environment in which to deal with the events they have just witnessed.
As the war of words by the adults continues, these paintings speak in another medium and with different eyes - of the emotions and perceptions of those who will inherit this troubled but very beautiful region.
Note: All photographs are copyright Peter Nasmyth. All rights reserved.
A girl's house in winter, situated in one of the Georgian villages just above Tskhinvali
Atchabeti school newly repainted. Photo taken in March 2007
Boy paints his mother
A boy's drawing of a Georgian Armoured Personnel Carrier
A girl paints her pet dog
A girl paints her house in Tskhinvali
Children happy and sad
Broken hearted in Atchabeti
A helicopter attack
A boy paints his friend
A man with money and influence
A girl paints her father
A six year old girl paints her home and the tower-blocks of Tskhinvali
A group of children in front of the Youth Palace in Tskhinvali
Note: All photographs copyright Peter Nasmyth. All rights reserved.
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