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Past exhibition

Terminé le 21.05.23

Brian McCarty. War-Toys


Brian McCarty, an American photographer living in California, devised the project of depicting global conflicts through the prism of the experience lived by children ever since a trip to Croatia in 1996, shortly after the war of independence. 

Since 2011, the photographer has been materialising his collaboration with children who have been affected by war in Iraq, in Syria, in Israel, in Palestine, in the Lebanon and more recently in Ukraine through a series of photographs entitled War-Toys. The project invokes the principles and practices of expressive art therapy to gather and articulate children’s accounts of war. 

More specifically, Brian McCarty met children in camps or schools run by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees during group sessions, assisted by specialists in art therapy. After creating an atmosphere of trust, he proposed that they should tell the story of their young lives and draw their experiences in an attempt to help them process their trauma.
The children spoke to them of armed men bursting into their homes, their burning houses, deportations, slaughters, stones against rifles, the noise of helicopters, the rumble of tanks and the buzz of drones, running to shelters and seeing corpses in the streets; they also talked of the tents and camps where they survive, and their hopes for schools, playgrounds and a better life. 

From these accounts and these drawings, often using second-hand toys bought in local shops, Brian McCarty reconstructed these scenes at the actual places where these tragedies occurred, and then photographed them, materialising them in some way, while placing himself from the children’s perspective alone. 

The children’s drawings accompany Brian McCarty’s photographs on the walls of the exhibition. 

Brian McCarty is an activist photographer, director and producer known for his unique work War-Toys.  From the series War-Toys to the founding of War Toys NGO : The series War-Toys, initiated in 2011, was enhanced and led to the creation of NGO War Toys in 2019, which provides its support to First Aid of the Soul, an organisation founded in Ukraine by Nathalie Robelot, art therapist.


With the support of the Embassy of the United States

Capture d’écran 2022-12-13 à 12.32.33

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© Musée de la Photographie