Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Art created by… warriors

St Sophia Cathedral of Kyiv will host a charity auction, offering for sale a mini-collection of oil paintings done by ATO participants
26 May, 2015 - 11:23

As part of the All-Ukrainian Charitable Art Project “ART-Combat,” organized by the Studio of Artistic Initiatives Agency of Creative Innovation, Kyiv City Union of ATO Veterans and the Ukrainian Resistance (Ukrainian acronym UKROP) Charitable Foundation, a special exhibition was held in the city. The Art Hall of the Museum and Exhibition Center Museum of the History of Kyiv offered its visitors an amazing exhibition of paintings created by ATO participants.

Recently, a few men who had seen the horrors of war were invited to a workshop held by professional artist Mariana Ostrohliad to undergo a session of art therapy, to help their rehabilitation and allow them an opportunity for creative expression. From the battlefield, they moved to a field of creativity. No one of the pilot art project’s parti­cipants is a painter by trade. Severe and tough, courageous and fair, they, for the first time in many months, are now wielding not weapons, but rather the palette and brush before the easel.

“We were worried,” Ostrohliad told The Day, “and wondered: what would pour out on a blank canvas from strong, mighty hands of the nation’s defenders? What colors would fit pure and bright intentions of our heroes? What lines, light and soft or sharp and contrasting, would appear in paintings created by people whose only art was previously that of war? The result has been more than just surprising for us. We have been shocked, impressed by these people with pained souls (but strong spirits!) who, after just a month spent at work, could create such sophisticated and emotionally rich images, light, bright and unexpectedly cheerful! Moreover, the men have perfectly mastered the technique of oil painting on canvas. Note, please, that all the works on display were done with oil paints, despite their creators being just amateur beginners!”

The organizers deliberately avoided proposing the artists specific topics and genres to work on. They were confident that the men’s self-sufficient nature, which reaffirmed itself through personal experience in difficult conditions of war, will direct itself to creating art through this same personal experience. However, the first and very successful experience of collaboration between the Master (the professional artist Ostrohliad) and her students (the ATO parti­ci­pants) has surpassed all expectations. It has resulted in an exquisite and rich exhibition of soul paintings, emotional and frank, unusually expressive, united by the important and bright topic of Love!


“These are true masterpieces!” we heard from famous movie and theater actress Larysa Kadochny­kova on her visit to the exhibition. “Truly, without exaggeration, they are. The men who wielded weapons just yesterday have just created oil paintings on canvas! They emanate so many good feelings! These paintings radiate the joy of life. They are designed to make life better. These bright, emotional, sensual paintings reaffirm that love and goodness will conquer all the woes in the world!”

The exhibition ended on May 13, but the “ART-Combat” project is going on, and the organizers invite all lovers of contemporary art to visit a unique exhibition-cum-charity auction at St. Sophia Cathedral of Kyiv on May 30.

“We are offering a full-fledged exhibition of a mini-collection of oil artworks, a self-sufficient and harmonious series of paintings created by warrior artists,” director of the Studio of Artistic Initiatives Oleksandr Kochubei told us. “Workshops on painting have shown the effectiveness of art therapy as a rehabilitation technique. Meanwhile, from the metaphysical point of view, the warriors have transformed their own energy of war into art. Our common goal is to project the situation so that a similar transformation takes place across the whole country, all humankind. We sincerely strive for it.”

By Natalia SHRAMENKO, The Day. Illustrations courtesy of the organizers