Home and Away

Simon O'CorraJul 11, 2022

The resilience of Ukrainians can not be underestimated, and from that perspective, the resilience of Ukrainian art cannot be underestimated.

Bjorn Gelhof, artistic director at the PinchukArtCentre (Kyiv)

Much has been written about the extraordinary Ukrainian creatives who persevere in keeping the arts alive in their war-shattered nation. But what about artists who have fled the country? Fear for their lives and their artistic freedom prompted their escape from an invasion that is in its sixth month.

Diana Olifirova — a Kyiv-born and London-based cinematographer — saw the gap that was widening between refugees and the need for work and set about organising a London networking event that connected recently relocated Ukrainian film and TV professionals with established London industry folk

Valentina I Valentini, Variety , 29 June 2022

Thanks to Ms. Olifrova's efforts, more than 30 UK film professionals met with about twice as many Ukrainian refugees in the arts with an eye to hiring them in the UK. Discussion included remote work for film and TV professionals still in Ukraine, particularly in regards to storyboarding and art department business.

Diana Olifrova, Cinematographer

In response to the high influx of Ukrainian creatives who fled with little more than the clothes on their back, a new non-profit initiative was set up by Julia Pelipas and Anna October in March 2022, early on in the conflict. The platform, Better Community for Ukrainian Creatives, aims to foster connections with international audiences and media groups for cash support and employment.

Julia Pelipas, Ukraine Vogue Editor and Anna October, Designer

Anna October - ‘It's difficult to think creatively when your country has been ripped apart by war,' she says, with the financial and logistical side of things also adding to her problems as she endeavours to finish her latest collection under these new, strange circumstances.

Emma Elizabeth Davidson, Dazed, 29 March 2022

Thanks to these entrepreneurs, two hotels in Austria are providing three-month residencies that include free accommodation and workspaces to enable Ukrainian creatives to settle and redevelop their craft and businesses. Exhibitions and sales will provide financing for artists to continuing living and working in their adopted countries.

Candle designed and made by ASSHA

Phocus Brand Contact, a design agency based in Nuremberg, will provide free workspaces for Ukrainian refugees. In Latvia, the State Cultural Capital Fund is offering stipends to Ukrainian artists who are war refugees.

Many artists have chosen to remain in Ukraine as an act of resistance against Russia.

Alevtina Kakhidze - ‘I'm staying, to understand what is going on. As an artist, it's important for me to offer another perspective,' said the artist via WhatsApp. Every day, she distributes her art on social networks, chronicling her country at war.

Emmanuelle Lequeux, Le Monde, May 9th 2022

Drawing made on 7th March 2022, Alevtina Kakhidze

Alvetina Kakhiudze releases drawings every day on social media, creating a visual diary to counter Russian propaganda.

Andriy Roik, Place of changes

Andriy Roik stayed put and became a volunteer driver in his home city of Lviv. He has adapted to working with constant sirens and the threat of bombings. The work pictured here is about seeing things from different perspectives.

In a just-in-time escape on the eve of the invasion, a Kyiv based arts curator, Maria Lanko, fled with an art exhibit in the boot of her car, and headed to Milan, to exhibit this work there in the Venice Bienale.

Funnels from Pavlo Makov's artwork "The Fountain of Exhaustion" being evacuated from Kyiv

Makov says it is fitting that his work is being exhibited in Venice, which being engulfed by water. It is also a symbol of ‘letting things happen' that normally we would like to control, and a clever analogy for how Ukrainians are responding to the invasion, by carrying on with life and work, either in the homeland or elsewhere. This work is not a literal fountain but instead one that should be allowed to let drip, let flow.

Fountain of Exhaustion 1996 Sketch

In a strong stance of solidarity, Western galleries and other arts institutions are assisting Ukrainians, in Ukraine and abroad. Many Western arts institutions have cancelled Russian art exhibitions and auctions, and there has been talk of boycotting Phillips, the auction house owned by two Russian oligarchs.

As Geldhof said at the beginning of this article, Russia cannot destroy Ukraine, its spirit, or its art, either in Ukraine or the rest of the world.

Simon O'Corra has been a creative since childhood, working in theatre and film and also as a designer and artist. He now combines all these skills to write monologues, duologues, short and feature films and plays. He also has experience in the following: copywriting, research, mind mapping and brainstorming, script editing and mentoring. Simon is a people's person and is a great networker. He currently has a range of short and feature films in development and plays also awaiting production dates post-Covid.

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