From 2011 to the present day, photographer Brian McCarty has been travelling to conflict areas in order to document war’s effect on children. For this project, dubbed “WAR-TOYS,” McCarty and his team of arts therapists collaborate with NGOs such as the Israel Trauma Coalition, United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and Spafford Children’s Center, empowering children to share their stories. Through expressive art therapy, these organizations give children the opportunity to discuss and draw their experiences of war. Then, McCarty sets out to recreate the children’s drawings in photographic form. He shoots in the actual locations, using forced perspective to put children’s toys in the place of real people. The resulting series validates the children’s artistic visions and serves as a reminder to people who have not personally experienced war that there are children in conflict zones. McCarty’s darkly playful interpretation of the scenes suggests that imagination is fundamental to these children’s lives even as violence affects what they imagine and how they express it. Collected with McCarty’s written reflections and documentary pictures of the children drawing and of the photographer at work, the WAR-TOYS photographs of West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Israel can be seen online now. In the future, McCarty intends to bring the project to Colombia, Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and the Middle East, developing the project into a photo essay of 60-90 pictures.

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Holly

Holly is a poet from Kentucky. She grew up first in a Sears house, then on a farm. She studied English and Gender Studies at Mount Holyoke College and moved to Manhattan for love. As an occasional jewelry-maker and museum patron, Holly favors wearable and functional design but is eager to see work that challenges her aesthetics. Read more and connect by visiting her blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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