FROM THE EDITOR
This week is a roundup of wartime work by Ukrainian artists, curated by Boston-based artist and educator Stephan Jacobs.
As the war grinds on, the relevance of art and artists in the midst of tectonic events is shown over and over, remaining centerstage in Ukraine's defense of its people and sovereignty. Appreciation of the arts seems to be an unwavering part of their national identity. From public works to web, NFTs, film, and traditional works of art, here is just a handful of recent notable efforts.
WORKSHOP 30 / Kyiv
Ukraine has launched the largest collection of NFT art in history, called "Mint for Ukraine". It consists of 1 million works created by artificial intelligence. The collection can be viewed for free, or you can make a donation to help Ukraine: 10% of the funds will go to the reconstruction of cultural heritage, and the remaining 90% - for humanitarian needs.
Kateryna Zhovta’s new series of drawings, a women’s history of Ukraine:
After dismantling the restrooms and painstakingly removing layers of paint and plaster, a scarred, century-old masterpiece began to emerge — a dramatic mural by the Polish artist Jan Henryk de Rosen.
“This beautiful masterpiece was hidden for many, many decades,” said Teras Demko, co-director of the Organ Hall, which has a concert hall for organ, chamber and symphonic music along with an art gallery. “During the Soviet regime, they tried to hide all mentions of anything connected to the sacred world.”
War of the Mushroooms (a contemporary reinterpretation of a classic folktale)
"The War of the Mushrooms" is a group of 10 original illustrations by Ukrainian artist Nikita Kravtsov. Drawing inspiration from the eponymous folk tale, a popular classic in Slavic cultures and the subject of a 1909 publication of the tale featuring illustrations by the prominent Ukrainian graphic artist, Heorhii Narbut, Kravtsov's contemporary interpretation reimagines the tale with paintings of scenes from Russia's current war on Ukraine. Mushroom soldiers shoot mushroom missiles at projectiles fired from Russia onto Ukrainian soil, cities, and innocent civilians.
Odessa Film Studio’s award winning production of Ukrainian director Villen Novak’s 2021 film “Why I’m Alive", depicting the lives of Christian and Jewish families brought together by the German invasion of Mariupol in 1941, was nominated for Best Director at Cannes last week.
Set in Mariupol, during the German siege and occupation 81 years ago, though oddly similar. Putin’s army had a much more difficult time taking the Azovstal steel factory, the site now of two historic sieges.
Many of the artists’ works had been destroyed; but maybe, she thought, the saved photos of their pieces could be digitized into NFTs. Maybe that would allow poor Ukrainian painters to stay financially afloat through online auctions as the war dragged on.
“The orcs have taken hold of our Scythian gold,” declared Melitopol’s mayor, Ivan Fyodorov, using a derogatory term many Ukrainians reserve for Russian soldiers. “This is one of the largest and most expensive collections in Ukraine, and today we don’t know where they took it.”
Creative, kinetic and bursting with color - siblings making public and web art galore!
Stephan Jacobs is a Boston-based artist, educator, and the acting faculty director of Emmanuel College’s institutional artist residency and co-founder of an academic partnership with Bauhaus University, Weimar.