Kansas City Area Youth Create Murals That Memorialize Afghan Civilians

Overland Park, Kan. - There's a unique and provocative traveling art exhibit now on display at two Kansas City area libraries. It's called "Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan". The exhibit is a combined effort of over 40 artists and students from around the world, the U.S. and four youth programs in the Kansas City area.

The local students studied about the War in Afghanistan and then created the murals to memorialize Afghan civilians and offer visions of hope. The murals will hang in the Kansas City Central Public Library at 14 West 10th Street http://www.kclibrary.org/central and at the Johnson County Resource Library at 9875 W. 87 th St., Overland Park, Kan.  http://www.jocolibrary.org/ until December 31, 2011.

Ruby Browne worked on two of the murals at the Learning Club Leadership Academy in Kansas City, Kan. The murals are titled ‘Peaceful Power' and ‘Mutual Compassion'. ‘Mutual Compassion' shows an American woman and an Afghan woman with their hands outstretched. "They're just sort of holding their hands out for peace and saying we're both offering the same thing," said Browne. "We wanted to represent the similarities. These are the same people. They're two people and they're both humans. They're both ladies. If you dress them in the same outfit, you'd have the same person," he said.

Ellie Beck attends the LEARN Homeschoolers Action Art Class in Kansas City, Mo. The mural she helped create, called ‘Sun Sets on Innocents' has dozens of hand prints on the bottom. She said the hand prints "Represent all the children who have made it and all the destruction from the Afghanistan War." Above the hand prints are a sunset and several kites.

The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) created the touring art exhibition. They are a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are dedicated to peace and non-violence. The exhibit is intended to remind people of the impact of the Afghan war.

Ira Harritt is the Kansas City Program Coordinator for AFSC. He said the children who created the murals were very thoughtful and reflective and, "They were able to make connections between what's happening thousands of miles away and what's happening in their own lives in Kansas City."            

The display also features drawings from children in Kabul, Afghanistan. Along with the murals, AFSC organized four informative programs tied to the exhibit. Information about the programs can be found at http://afsc.org/story/afghan-mural-exhibit-kc .

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