“Sardine Can Art”

Looking through old memorabilia, curiousity always gets the best of us. An object can hold a story and depending on who tells it, you mentally can feel yourself go back in time. Walking into antique shops for one, is like a time portal in itself. Each object you touch has a past. We are innately inclined to fabricate stories to invoke emotion whether it is for leisure, to strike fear, or record history and life. Listening to World War II stories of my buelo has that same effect whether it is from my mother telling them or listening to buelo tell them himself. He always has a proud glint in his eye as he recalls his experiences in the war and you can’t help but be enthralled in the descriptions of his experiences. 


Looking through an old jewelry box one day, my mom pulled out a worn sardine can. “Have I ever showed you this?” A bit confused I said “No. What is it?”
She went on and told me a story about the old faded sketch, one which I had never heard untill now. While overseas during the war, one of my buelo’s assignments was to guard POWs. A German POW being held captive called buelo down from his post and gave him this sardine can lid with a drawing of him on it. He accepted it from the soldier and thanked him.
It is a bit hard to tell now because of the scratch marks but if you look closely, he had sketched a line drawing of my buelo standing guard at his post. From the faded etching, you can see that the title is called “A Memory of My Soldier Days in Germany.” The soldier’s name was Kreuznache or more or less the last name that I can make out. It is dated 1945 and shows April, May, June, and July, the months that he was held captive. The bottom right has writing that says Prisoners of War.
We’ll never know the thoughts of the soldier that made the sketch and gave it to my buelo that day or why. My thought is that it was a token of sorts. Only buelo would have an idea of course. Interesting how creativity surpasses boundaries to help humans thrive. This in itself is Art Therapy in its most raw form finding unconventional ways to express thoughts, emotions, and heal oneself in the hardest of circumstances.


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