Jan. 29 – March 15, 2018
Since 2011, Los Angeles-based artist Brian McCarty has been traveling to war zones and refugee camps in the Middle East to conduct art-based interviews with children affected by armed conflict. Boys and girls are invited to become art directors for McCarty’s photographs of locally found toys, recreating their experiences through a deconstructive filter of play. McCarty works in the field with an art therapist in coordination with nongovernmental organizations and United Nations agencies to ensure the safety of the children – and to plant some seeds of resilience. The exhibition at the UHCL Art Gallery, the artist’s first solo show in Texas, displayed 17 of the children’s drawings presented alongside 21 of McCarty’s photographs. The exhibited works conveyed the horrors of war, simultaneously giving voice to the innocent who might not otherwise have had a channel from which to express their accounts.
WAR-TOYS: Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip is a program of ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance with Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. The presentation at the University of Houston-Clear Lake Art Gallery was funded by a grant from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, Lunar Rendezvous Festival, and Art Colony Association, producer of the Bayou City Art Festivals. It was presented as part of FotoFest 2018 Biennial’s Participating Spaces program. In-kind support was provided by Saint Arnold Brewing Company.