Amazed World

Exhibition Catalog / 2001

Amazed World, United Nations, NY

Ik-Joong Kang



I have six sisters and want one brother, says a 12 years old Uzbekistan girl in her drawing of herself pushing a little brother in a stroller. A boy from Congo made a beautiful drawing with an inscription, the way to survive in Africa - never see, never talk and never hear. A young Switzerland student designed a beautiful house walking with its robot legs. A 10-year-old Italian boy is making a wonderful over- head kick in a soccer field. One of the first drawings received for our Amazed World exhibition held at United Nation was from a child in Cuba, whose dream is to become a doctor helping other children. This drawing was later displayed next to the drawing by a 13-year-old Vietnamese friend who invites us to his dinner party at his flower- blooming back yard. You can also find an amazing drawing with an image of a Palestinian child and an Israeli child shaking hands, done by a girl from Mexico.

The Amazed World received drawings from 34,000 children in over 135 countries. Each child was given a 3x3 canvas to draw their goals and dreams. With each 3x3 that we received, we saw in them a window of each childs world and heard voices of their cries and joys. Some wanted to climb the highest mountain while a 12-year-old Uzbekistan girl just wanted a brother. Each dream was mounted and exhibited next to another. When 34,000 finally filled the walls of the United Nations, we saw the harmony of it all. At a simple glance, it was one world filled with one dream - harmoniously existing with the other. But each canvas tells a story of its creator.

Ironically, on the day the Amazed World exhibition was to open was September 11, 2001 - the day of the World Trade Center bombing. Sadly, world peace craved by children who participated in the show was shattered by the event. United Nations where the show was being held was closed indefinitely and all the people evacuated. 34,000 paintings proudly done by children all over the world hung in the midst of chaos and uncertainty. It wasnt until many days later that the building was re-opened to the public. However, there was still lingering the threat of biological warfare, more bomb threats, and possibility of more plane crashes. There was a calm sea of panic everywhere. If a bus went off the road or a plane crashed while taking off, people assumed it was the doing of our enemy. As peoples panic rose, we all became patriotic and wanted revenge.

Through these tragic events, the voices of the 34,000 children became faint and almost lost. Many people who visited the exhibition after the bombing saw the irony of it all. They saw the innocence of children who were trying to tell us to stop for a moment and see their world - to believe in them - to believe in the mankind. Fortunately, the people who were able to see the exhibition amidst many layers of security check into the United Nations building, were taken aback by these voices. The exhibition which was to close on October 29, 2001 was extended until September of 2002. Perhaps the voices of these children can be heard if the world allows them.