Virtual Reality Exhibit Gives Voice to Ukrainian Children and Librarians

Ukrainian Children Draw War, Not Flowers artwork exhibition

The San José State University School of Information launches “Children Draw War, Not Flowers” in virtual reality, a pioneering VR art exhibition showcasing the resilience and experiences of Ukrainian children affected by war, while highlighting the role of librarians and cultural heritage preservation during conflict. 

The browser-based VR experience allows visitors to explore a powerful 3D environment featuring poignant artworks by Ukrainian children aged 4 to 16, reflecting the realities of war through imagery. Virtual galleries display the destruction of Ukrainian libraries, underscoring their vital roles as humanitarian and cultural centers. Viewers are immersed in frontline videos documenting the ongoing ravages of war.

Spearheaded by Dr. Anthony Chow and Assistant Professor Ulia Gosart, and created by graduate assistants Kelly Rausch and Sara Clair and student interns Jonathan Velazquez and Tania Isidra Damaso, the project was made possible through collaborations with Ukrainian libraries, organizations, and initiatives.

“I am proud to share the work of Ulia and her students. I also want to especially thank XRLibraries and Tim Bartolf for the exquisite design. Because of their work, this powerful art exhibit can now be brought to everyone, entirely free, with one mouse click,” said Chow.

The virtual exhibition, described by Chow as “extremely powerful and emotional,” is viewable via a web browser across devices, though it is best experienced using desktop computers or VR headsets. 

To complement the VR experience, those in the San José, California region can visit the in-person exhibit currently on display at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library on the SJSU campus. The in-person exhibit further amplifies awareness of Ukrainian children’s unwavering courage amidst adversity. The exhibit is on display until June 24, 2024.