Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Artworks created by children caught up in the Asian tsunami are on display in Glasgow

Artworks created by children caught up in the Asian tsunami are on display in Glasgow. The exhibition at the Tramway aims to raise funds to help those affected rebuild their lives and give the children a way to express their feelings about the disaster.

It was one of the world's worst natural disasters and caused untold devastation. Now almost two years on and on the other side of the world drawings by some of the youngest affected are going on display to raise the necessary funds to help rebuild their lives.

The paintings in this exhibition are far removed from the TV and newspaper pictures of Sri Lanka we remember from the Boxing Day tsunami. Bright and colourful, they represent a different image of the country but what's interesting is that none of the children's illustrations include the sea.

Artist, Nelum Arachchige, said: "Our judge was going through all the paintings, I was there next to him and it was amazing that we could not find any of the paintings with sea. I had one child who was really affected by tsunami and he's scared to sleep in the night and the mother said he really enjoyed doing the painting and to receive a certificate."

It was a recognition that many children were still struggling to cope which triggered the project.

Venerable Rewatha, Scotland's Buddhist Vehare, said: "Children are suffering a lot in the refugee camps so we thought to do something just to get rid of their trauma like counselling and also so many activities and we introduced art therapy, so as a part of art therapy we conduct an art exhibition in Sri Lanka, we encourage children who live in refugee camps to draw more and more about the nature, just forget about the tsunami and forget about the disaster."

As International Development Minister, Patricia Ferguson is heavily involved in the Executive's several reconstruction projects in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Patricia Ferguson MSP, International Development Minister, said: "I think it's important that people don't just look at them and appreciate them as lovely works of art, but also think about the people who painted them, think about the situation that they may be experiencing and hopefully dig deep and spend some money."

The exhibition at the Tramway runs until Sunday night.