Christine Leunens: How Guillaume’s war trauma influenced his art

Guillaume Leunens’ life in the German labor camp during World War II inspired his granddaughter when she wrote Caging Skies, which recently was made into a movie by Taika Waititi. The movie, Jojo Rabbit, received an Oscar for best screenplay adaptation in 2020. Christine explains how her family’s history during World War II in Belgium and Italy inspired her while writing the book. In particular, she shares how her grandfather, Guillaume Leunens, experience in the labor camps influenced the artist’s relationship with metal and his commitment to develop his art through metal in order to transmute his war trauma. Christine recalls her grandfather sharing about the labor camps: «He had to actually use his hands – which he usually used to make art- and yet he had to use them to make ammunition… which he knew would be used to kill people on his side. When the war was over, he was quite traumatized and he started to always to make paintings in metal. I guess it was his way to get this off his chest, because he wanted to use metal not as a thing of war but as a thing of peace.» See here the full interview with Christine Leunens about the movie Jojo Rabbit, and her book Caging Skies.

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