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Regarding the opening of the 63rd International Theatre Festival MESS, a panel titled ‘War and Art’ was held last Friday. The meeting focused on discussing the production and significance of art and culture during the wars in Ukraine and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Theater director Ivan Uryvskyi, director of the Maidan Museum Ihor Poshyvailo, author of the book and exhibition “Theatre under the Siege” Hana Bajrovic-Cardakovic, director of the MESS Festival Nihad Kresevljakovic, and founder and CEO of the War Childhood Museum Jasminko Halilovic took part in the discussion.

On this occasion, Jasminko Halilovic particularly emphasized the considerable number of testimonies, exhibits, and stories in the War Childhood Museum, illustrating the importance of art and culture for children and young people in wars.

‘By that, I don’t mean professional and organized culture but also improvised theater performances created by children hiding in basements and staircases. I mean every drawing a child made or, for example, an artwork made of modeling clay donated to the Museum by a Ukrainian boy, Dmitro,’ stated Halilovic.

Addressing the war in Ukraine, Halilovic highlighted that the War Childhood Museum has been active in this country since 2018.

‘We continuously collect exhibits and testimonies from those whose childhood was marked by the war in Donbas, the occupation of Crimea, or the full-scale invasion that began in February last year. We gather hundreds of stories and belongings of Ukrainian children. The WCM has exhibited some of them at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg for those making important political decisions and in other European cities for those accepting and working with refugees from Ukraine,’ added Halilovic.

Currently, the War Childhood Museum has an exhibition in Kyiv dedicated to the stories and belongings of children who have fled to Poland, Romania, Spain, and other countries.

‘We wanted to bring their stories home before they can return. The voices of refugee children need to be heard in the public sphere. The WCM continues to be a bridge connecting these two countries. We are completely dedicated to Ukraine, and our Ukrainian team works tirelessly to expand the collection,’ concluded Halilovic.