Trauma and Mental Illness

Tanks and Teddy Bears: Ukrainian Children Paint the War

untitled by Getty Images

untitled by Getty Images

When horrific atrocities happen, we often have no words. The immeasurable devastation we feel can't yet be processed. This is when the arts can support us. Making art is helping Ukrainian children cope with the trauma of war they are experiencing on a daily basis. The expressive arts are providing young people with a way to share their fears, loss and grief. They are also calming the mind and body for immediate comfort. And they offer a way for young people to share their hopes and dreams. When these children share their artwork in public settings, we are able to bear witness to both the deep emotional struggle and resilience they embody.

"On the walls of a modern art museum in Ukrainian Village, a neighborhood and cultural enclave here, hangs a drawing of the fall of Mariupol, one of the bloodiest battles of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Against a bright orange sky, smoke drawn with a felt-tip pen billows from crumbling buildings as Russian planes fly overhead.

The artist? A 9-year-old boy named Roman.

In the same gallery hangs a painting of a blue-green tank by Ilya, 7. Beneath it, an armed Ukrainian soldier that Taras, 10, drew with oil pastels stands guard against a star-filled sky... See artwork in the New York Times."