Dealing with pain through drawing – almost a year after the attack on the Barnoar gay and lesbian youth club in Tel Aviv, teenagers who witnessed the horrific event are still dealing with the pain and loss. On Monday next week, they will display their work in an exhibition at Eshkol Hapais near the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.
The exhibition will reveal the personal memories of 12 teenagers injured in the attack, through their drawings. The 40 paintings will give a glimpse into the events of the horrific night, and the killer who still roams free while the police remain without a lead.
"The drawings have no gloomy images. The teenagers grabbed onto life in a surprising way; I have never seen such levels of honesty, even in artists' exhibitions," artist and architect Ziv Tidhar, who accompanied the youths in the past few weeks, told Ynet.
Tidhar guided the teenagers, while using simple artistic tools such as pencils, markers, gauche paints and papers.
"There is a very wide spectrum of expressions – from the murder itself, and all the way to the experiences that happened later, including a first romantic encounter after the murder," said Tidhar.
"The youths were very open and frank, and even expressed happiness and joy of life. I entered this project with many apprehensions, because it is a process that requires walking on eggshells, but I came out encouraged," he said.
Seventeen year old A., who was shot in the arm, drew several paintings for the exhibition. "In fact it was the first time most of us got together after the incident," she said.
Displaying memories of pain and loss (Photo: Courtesy of The Aguda)
"We started drawing and sharing; we were asked to draw the things we remember most about that night and focus on them. I drew the Microwave that was shattered by a bullet, after it went through Nir's body."
Through her drawings, A. remembered something she had forgotten, "Immediately after the shooting, when the killer escaped, I laid injured on the floor next to a friend who was badly injured. Kelly Clarkson's song 'Break Away' was playing in the background, and he was humming it until I told him to shut up."
A. said she drew the paintings with her weaker arm – because two of her fingers on her stronger arm were paralyzed due to her injuries, forcing her to learn how to write and use the weaker arm.
"The physical pain is almost gone, but the feeling of loss never leaves me," she said, "Once in a while I go through fits of rage and I wait until they pass. Sometimes I look behind me, fearing the murderer might be there, waiting for me."