Small Pieces for Peace / 2007

supported by Alexander Gallery, G8 Summit Project

Heiligendamm, Germany

Ik-Joong Kang



My name is Ik-Joong Kang. I am a painter and a collector. I collect dreams, dreams of children. For the last 7 years, Ií»ve collected over 135,000 Childrení»s drawings from 141 countries. I asked them to tell me their dreams and the children answered back with drawings on small 3"x3" paper filled with their stories.

The first drawing I received was from a child in Cuba, with a surprising image of Palestinian and Israeli children hugging each other. Children facing severe hardships, including orphans in Mexico, refugees in Azerbaijan and slum children in Kenya participated. More than 300 drawings came from Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan. A 12 years old Uzbekistan girl says, í░I have six sisters but I want brother", Her drawing shows a picture of herself pushing a little brother in a baby stroller. A boy from Congo made a beautiful drawing but it came with a sad inscription, "the way to survive in Africa - never see, never talk, and never hear.í▒ A young Switzerland child designed a house walking with robot legs. A 10-year-old Italian boy is making a wonderful over-head kick in a World Cup soccer game.

In 1999 we created an installation in Korea titled í░100,000 Dreams.í▒  Thousands of drawings were displayed inside a one-kilometer long greenhouse near the DMZ – the demilitarized zone – the borderline between North and South Korea. It was lit up at night, as if to invite North Korean children on the other side to come out and play. We followed this project with í░Amazed World 2001í▒, an installation composed of 34,000 childrení»s drawings from all over the world, at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York.  The project was scheduled to open on Sept. 11, 2001.  The dreams of the children were waiting to be heard and seen in uptown New York, while the tragedy struck in downtown Manhattan.

Drawings come from the mountains in Tibet, street corners in Hong Kong and from the war zone in Iraq.  Collecting the drawings is like building a big house.  This house has a big roof and big walls, but with many small windows. These small drawings are Windows of into the minds of children. Children come into the big house and say hello to each other and hug each other, and all of their dreams are placed next to each other for us to see. Now we plan to collect millions or billions of Childrení»s dreams, which, I believe, can connect the villages, countries and the entire world.

One drawing says, í«A wall of dreams can break down the wall of hatred and ignorance that separated us for a long time.í» Childrení»s drawings have magical powers. Through their drawings, a divider becomes a connector, a winter becomes a spring. A night becomes a morning. And an enemy becomes a friend.