Tes Editorial

If an exhibition title has the word "children" in it, does it necessarily follow that they should see it? "Children in Conflict", at Aberdeen Art Gallery until November 15, is a case in point.

This touring show, organised by Wolverhampton Art Gallery, is described as "provocative and groundbreaking" and features work in a variety of media by artists who have responded to the theme of conflict and the devastating effect it has on children worldwide. It explores issues such as child soldiers, landmines, abduction, HIV and AIDS, refugees and orphans.

Among the works on show are blindfolded fabric figures dressed in pyjamas; a video of girls assembling hand guns; and paintings by British war artist John Keane, based on his experiences in Angola where he witnessed children and adults working together to rebuild their country's fragile infrastructure.

In the excellent education pack produced by the Wolverhampton gallery, which is available online and from Aberdeen Art Gallery, teachers are advised that "Children in Conflict" is aimed at pupils aged 13 and over. As well as providing suggestions for art that can be produced at school after a visit to the show, the pack lists questions that can be considered at the gallery as an aid to understanding what the artists have attempted to do. For instance, is the image realistic or distorted? Does the artist want us to respond in a particular way?

Fiona Mair, lifelong learning officer at Aberdeen Art Gallery, says: "Many young people are more capable of handling these kinds of issues than we give them credit for. However, individual teachers will need to assess the suitability of the images and stories for their own pupils."

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