THE CRAILO CHILDREN,
Portraits of children on the run
A refugee child is the story of grown-ups who try to kill each other.
They turn this world into an unsafe place for the sake of political interests, religion, power, money and many other things.
Children are the main victims, always, everywhere. Damaged for life, their childhood shattered, grown up too early.
War doesn't take children into account.
In an attempt of alleviating a little of their misery I reported at the centre for asylum seekers Crailo in order to be with the children in the day-care centre and in the children's library.
Playing together, reading together, learning together that violence may not be the norm … would it be possible to prevent war in this way?
A centre for asylum seekers is a place where you are waiting, sometimes under circumstances that can make you ill. Waiting for what is decided about you: are you allowed to stay? Or not? Back to a country where you know it isn't safe? How is that possible; after all, you don't flee for nothing.
Most of the time I can't do much more than just be there, with the children and their parents. It seems very little but to them it means a lot. Listening to the stories about injustice and violence. What a mess everywhere is made!
But sometimes we are happy together; the small happiness becomes great happiness.
The children are so beautiful, sad, violent and cheerful: the portraits and stories come to my hands and heart naturally. These are the Crailo children but the portraits could have been made at all places where refugee children live.
All looking for something that looks like peace!
THE CRAILO CHILDREN (2000): a series of panels with 22 composite pictures.
Size: 75x60 cm. each . Exhibitions among others: Museum of Resistance, Amsterdam, Memorial Camp Westerbork, De Rode Hoed, Amsterdam.