War Toys




Chronicling the process behind WAR-TOYS from the perspective of toy photographer Brian McCarty.

Index of posts by category:



Posts in Lebanon 2014
Overview: Lebanon & Syrian Refugees, 2014

I spent four weeks in late 2014 working throughout Lebanon, gathering and articulating perspectives from children with diverse backgrounds. Art based interviews were conducted with Syrian refugees sheltering within sight of the eastern border, Iraqi refugees who were born in exile from their homeland, and Lebanese boys just outside of Tripoli, many of whom had been exposed and even participated in heavy sectarian fighting.

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Tripoli / Last Day in Beirut

I was advised that the security situation in Tripoli was still too volatile to attempt photographing within affected areas of the city. Pulling out a camera in the wrong neighborhood, let alone attempting a toy setup, could cause trouble quickly and with little warning. 

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Syrian Refugees / Kayany Foundation

Even after extending my stay in Lebanon, I decided that there wasn't enough time to gather and articulate accounts from all of the various refugee and local populations affected by war. Lebanon is at the crossroads of so many conflicts that it's going to take multiple trips to represent the perspectives of Iraqi, Syrian, Kurdish, Palestinian, and Lebanese children. For now, I chose to focus the majority of my remaining stay on Syrian children living in refugee camps in the Bekaa Valley. 

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Iraqi Refugees / Amel Community Center

After the challenges of working near Tripoli, children at the Amel Community Center for Refugees in the Hareit Hreik neighborhood of Beirut were a breath of fresh air. Myra Saad conducted an art interview session with a group of Iraqi refugees, many of whom had been born in Lebanon. In stark contrast to boys and girls that I've encountered in the past, most of these children have been well cared for their entire lives and sheltered from violence. It was reflected in both their drawings and behavior.

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Tripoli / Nader Association

Over the last several years, Art Therapist Myra Saad has worked with boys at the Nader Association for Deliquent Enfant Rehabilitation in northern Lebanon. The center gives at-risk and marginalized boys a chance at normalcy, often their last chance. Many come from the streets and highly abusive environments. Some have witnessed and even participated in the ongoing fighting between Sunni and Alawite Muslim residents of the nearby city of Tripoli. Nader equally welcomes boys from both sides of the conflict, encouraging them to break centuries-old patterns of hatred.

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