I would like my house to be rebuilt

Workshops at Children Friendly Spaces

Children Friendly Spaces (CFS) are twenty safe areas in regions of Bosnia struck by flooding and landslides in 2014. Organised by World Vision, sponsored by UNICEF and Save the Children, initially they were safe spaces where children could have activities away from disaster. Usually, it is just one classroom in a local primary school, dried up, cleaned up, filled with various creative toys, picture books, with tables and chairs for activities like drawing, assembling… The project ran for 3 months and then it was extended until the end of January 2015. During this period children were exposed to educational, psychosocial and creative workshops.

Art Workshops

I was invited by Iskra Tabaković, a former Child Protection and Participation Lead at World Vision Bosnia and Herzegovina, alongside with other artists to lead one of the art workshops in CFS. Artists and workshops they held were:

  • Arma Tanović, (teaching assistant at Academy of Performing arts with BA in both Visual and Performing arts) led Forum theatre workshop,
  • Taida Jašarević, (Printmaker with Ph.D. in Arts, 10 years of studying and working at Art Academies in Japan) led Monotyping workshop.
  • Sabina Beširević-Zahirović, (Architect) led Model Making workshop,
  • Sarajevo Drum Orchestra,led Music workshop.
  • And I, Comics workshop.

Comics Workshop

Comics workshop had various goals. The first was to present comics as visual medium where artists can express their emotion, needs and desires and communicate non-verbally with their surrounding audience. Then, the goal was to check how much knowledge in protection and prevention from disaster children have acquired. The workshop consisted of 3 parts and ran for two school hours.

First part is theoretical introduction to medium with examples of active contemporary authors from Bosnia and region:

  • Adi Granov, an artist from Sarajevo who lives in Great Britain, and he works for Marvel´s Comics as illustrator, mostly known for his work on recent Iron Man movies;
  • Enis Čišić, an artist from Sarajevo who, in 2014 started working for Marvel´s Comics;
  • Enki Bilal, one of the most famous French comics artist, whose father was Bosnian, and his latest series of graphic novels deals with life on post-apocalyptic Earth, caused by devastating global climate change.
  • Tomaž Lavrić from Slovenia,
  • Danijel Žeželj, Igor Kordej, Darko Macan and Esad Ribić from Croatia
  • Aleksandar Zograf and Wostok from Serbia.

Second part is work on the story and the way it will be presented in comic form. It is group work that leads to individual work, because every child works on one frame of the comic.

Third part, is the reading of the finished comic. In this part we are checking if the message inside comic is clearly readable.

My reflection

Some workshops were very successful, others very emotional. Like the moment when you receive such clear and strong message from the single frame, where quite little girl (first grader) from Željezno Polje (area struck by massive landslides) presents you with single wish – I would like my house to be rebuilt.

CFS centres are definitely needed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, because they carry potential to expose children to non-formal education and in that way create space where children could be trained to cope with topics like trauma, multiculturalism, identity… To create this condition it is necessary that CFS becomes priority of all NGOs involved in this project, in creating feeling of economic stability, protection and child safety.