Watch Out: Children!
The Humboldt Forum, in Berlin, hosts the exhibition Watch Out: Children! Protected. Loved. Threatened. which runs until the 14th of January 2018.
The way social groups and cultures relate to children is a strong indicator of the bonds that hold them together. In Europe children were long considered miniature forms of grown people, essentially as small adults. This fundamental idea has recently been turned on its head to the extent that not only are adults permitted to act like children, they are actually encouraged to do so. In both past and present there were and are contradictory notions of what constitutes “normal” behaviour.
There are similar tensions surrounding the primary function of adults in caring for children: their role as protectors. Since time immemorial there has been a basic consensus that children must receive sufficient nutrition and learn about the demands of the adult world through play. Yet these requirements are a long way from being satisfied in many regions of the world – often they are rendered impossible due to external conditions or family strife.
What kind of protection is appropriate for each individual child? Even where protection can be guaranteed, there is a danger it will lead to too many restrictions. This quandary is particularly apparent in the extreme situation of people being forced to flee their homes. Even in times of peace and plenty, there is a thin line between danger, protection and “protective control”. Education and coercion, freedom and commitment, refuge and migration can all play a decisive role in children’s weal and woe. This triple set of conditions are symbolically reflected in rituals, objects and myths of supernatural forces and powers.
With around 160 carefully selected objects from the collections of Berlin museums as well as contemporary works of art, the exhibition highlights various aspects of protecting children.
Watch Out: Children! Protected. Loved. Threatened.
until January, 14 – 2018
Have a look at:
Opening Picture: Dijaawa Wotunnoi, animation still from The history of Dijaawa, 2017
Picture 1: Sonya Schönberger, Anna’s unicorn, 2016
Picture 2: Magnus Wennman, Lamar, 5 Jahre, 2015
Picture 3: Mother goddess with three swaddled babies, from the 2nd century b.C.
Picture 4: Bike child seat, 1938
Picture 5: Children dress with leading-strings, 1780