Children Play War, 1950s

Thanks to all who joined us for afternoon tea at Kaye Sera’s Bizarre and heard first hand, Maggie’s commentary on these images and nearly 100 more –  spanning 50s Chicago to 90s Melbourne.  It was wonderful to have you with us.
If you’d like to view photos of the event – including some great portraits of Maggie, generously provided by Trudy Schuringa Photography, go to:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=48967&id=144893088875066

I guess children have always played war; I certainly remember carving bunkers and forts amongst the blackberries around my childhood home , in the 1970s.  The neigbourhood kids merged in spontaneous play that seemed to go on for days… and there were never any adults present.
In a way, Maggie kind of validated the children in her Chicago neighbourhood – their play and who they were.  When they ‘played war’, she saw them turning it into a performance just for her:
‘These children set up a war for me…and I thought they were terrific.  The double exposures were accidental, but I liked them – especially the one that looks like there is a noose hanging in the background. (It’s actually a curtain cord hanging in a window).  I took them to Life Magazine, and they didn’t care for the double exposures at all, but it didn’t bother me…that guy wouldn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground anyway!’

Maggie describes the location as a ‘mixed neighbourhood’ – near to where she lived in the early 1950s.  It was North of The Loop and not that far from Lake Michigan.
We had been searching for these negatives for years and it was when Maggie saw the work by our print consultant, Tiffaney Bishop in her exhibition:  Mothers’ War Cry, recently exhibited at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance. http://www.tiffaneybishop.com/ that she began asking about them again.
Thankfully we did find these negs a few months ago and indeed there is a haunting connection between Maggie’s work and the montage works created by Bishop, which are based on actual wartime photographs of the 1940s.
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