There are countless individuals and organizations that provide essential support to the WAR-TOYS production, which at times is not much more than me and a backpack full of equipment. Local and international NGOs, such as the Israel Trauma Coalition, United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and Spafford Children’s Center, have been instrumental to the success of the project, granting access to children and staff in areas of active conflict. Locally hired interpreters, fixers, drivers, and assistants keep me safe and working efficiently in difficult conditions. An assembled team of international art and play therapy experts collaborate to help create a safe and effective methodology for working with potentially traumatized children.
With the support of these remarkable people, WAR-TOYS will be completed in phases, allowing specific conflicts and geographic areas to act as milestones and opportunities to present an evolving body of work. When complete, the project will include the perspective of children living in warzones across the globe, including (but not limited to) Colombia, Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. In its final form, the photo essay will consist of approximately 60-90 photographs, accompanied by the children's drawings that served as direction and inspiration.
My goal for WAR-TOYS is to change lives. By engaging children in the creative process, I intend to challenge individual boys and girls to perceive themselves and their world in a different way. I seek to empower children through an approach that gives context and validation to their personal perceptions of war. I hope to foster communication and understanding with the resulting artwork, taking every opportunity to present a new way of thinking about the costs of war.