Exhibition Once upon a time and never again is displeyed in Documentation Center Kosovo, which is managed by Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo (HLCK), in memory of 1133 children killed as a result of war in Kosovo 1999-2000. Due to coronavirus pandemic exchibtion will not be shown in Belgrade, therefore virtual tour has been created.
Once upon a time, is a normal beginning of every fairy tale. In this case it is the beginning of a war story. A world that is revealed to us, through the innocent eyes of children, is a world that similar to a fairy tale should never belong to reality.
There is a glass room holding the burden of the objects. The objects sleepily floating within the glass box as if they are in a fairy tale do remind us that the exhibition is to be viewed from children’s perspective. An apparent somnolence of these objects left in the darkness of the unconscious evokes personal and collective memory out of the constant need to forget. The objects and garments within the glass box cease to be mere objects and garments. They are transformed into personal histories that follow the very presence of the children. It is a presence of another dimension, a mixture of bullets and tales holding the entire symbolism that cracks suddenly just like the glass containing it all within.
The exhibition is an invitation for facing and reflecting, it is an invitation to dialog and healing by initiating a collective memory through these objects and those that will be added in the future.
The objects belonging to the children remind us of monotonous, daily life, of little precious things we do not notice at all the time. Some of them tell of a game that silently still continues.
Perhaps it is a game that accompanied coexistence with war and continues to be reflected in all the remaining objects following the soft gaze of the children that heals and emits rays of hope thus making the memory of them eternal.
This is a memorial dedicated to all the children killed and missing in the war rather than just an exhibition. What is the reason to build up memorials and why is there a need to keep the ruins brought about from the violation of human rights?
It is not done only to commemorate and honour the victims and survivors but also to seek the truth.
The Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo is fully dedicated to seeking the truth and for the purpose of building this memorial it has consulted the parents and family members of the victims. This exhibition expresses their wish to remember these children through the remaining objects of an interrupted childhood.
Within the exhibition 1133 names have been listed, 1024 children killed, 109 children missing. HLCK is in the verification process, therefore this list is not final and may be subject to change. Humanitarian Law Center has published the names in daily newspaper Danas.
Exhibition 360° can be visited here.
Virtual exhibition is part of the project which is carried out by Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo, together with Humanitarian Law Center and Association Transitional Justice, Responsibility and Remembrance, supported by RYCO within the second Open Call for Project Proposals co-financed by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.