Even Russian artists have registered their protest against the invasion of Ukraine despite threats of repercussions from the state.
Throughout history, authoritarian leaders have been known to target art because they know too well its power to influence people. Art is at the center of resistance movements all over the world, and it's no different now as Ukraine fights back against the Russian invasion. Artists are overwhelmingly siding with Ukraine and standing in solidarity with the people of the country, reported The Huffington Post. Many targeted Vladimir Putin over the invasion and hailed the courage of the Ukrainian people. The resilience of Ukrainians over the past week has been a major source of inspiration for the artists and their art, in turn, is inspiring people to rally around Ukraine.
“It was the least I could do apart from sending financial support,” said the artist who goes by WOSKerski. It was WOSKerski who painted a glorious tribute piece to the people of Ukraine in London. “As an artist, I have a voice that can influence people and a moral obligation to act against injustice and support people who need it,” said WOSKerski. “I am aware that the online support is probably meaningless, but I hope that perhaps it did help someone.”
Artist Seth Globepainter did a mural of a girl in Paris and dedicated it to his friend Oleg who is still in Kyiv. He said it “symbolized the courage of the Ukrainians faced with the Russian invasion.” He added his art rarely affected current events but this felt different. "I know how important it is for the people living through this dramatic situation to know that we are thinking of them,” he added. Jenks, an artist hailing from Wales is another who has made an impact with their street art. He painted "Pray for Ukraine" in the hope that "if they saw the image painted thousands of miles away, they would not feel isolated and know people are on their side during this terrible time for them.”
Even some Russian artists are against the invasion but they also fear potential repercussions for standing up to Vladimir Putin. Russian artists Kirill Savchenkov and Alexandra Sukhareva were set to represent the country in April at the Venice Biennale have withdrawn from the event to register their protest against the invasion of Ukraine. “There is no place for art when civilians are dying under the fire of missiles when citizens of Ukraine are hiding in shelters when Russian protesters are getting silenced,” read their statement said, reported New York Times. Raimundas Malasauskas, the curator of the Russian Pavilion also backed out. The response to their decision has already been delivered from the Kremlin. Vyacheslav Volodin, a senior lawmaker, slammed cultural figures opposing the invasion and said, “If you are so principled, start by refusing state grants,” he said. One artist who wished to remain anonymous said, "From my point of view, we have no future, so we have nothing to lose in speaking out against this but at the same time we are all afraid.”
Art has always and will continue to be at the forefront of any resistance movement. Here are some of the amazing artworks that stood in solidarity with the Ukrainian people:
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