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Stunning online exhibition showcases art from the Ukrainian warzone

30 Apr 2022 5 minute read
Masha Foya ©

Ukrainian illustration artists are displaying their work in a stunning online exhibition in collaboration with Swansea Print Workshop.

This exhibition is about the war in Ukraine and features work by Ukrainian artists currently living in a war zone, seeing the effects of bombs falling, lives torn apart and homes destroyed.

This exhibition is part of a broad effort to spotlight Ukrainian war art and organisers say that the huge variation in styles reflects the many different experiences of and responses to the conflict.

Culture is always in favour of peace & a democratic future by Veronika Kotyk©

Rose Davies and Melvyn Williams from Swansea Print Workshop were approached by a group including the Learning For Wellbeing Foundation , ACT2gether in a bid to help to show what is happening on the ground in Ukraine and showcase the work that has emerged as a result.

Pictoric is a Ukrainian Illustrators Club is a society of illustrators, graphic designers, and artists representing Ukraine creatively on a high level at international events.

As a union of young and successful arts professionals, the Pictoric Club organizes art exhibitions, master classes, lectures, and round tables facilitates collaboration between the artists and publishers.

When Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, affiliated artists started to work hard, expressing their thoughts and reflections on war through illustrations. Pictoric has created a website that collects all these works to reflect everything that is happening in Ukraine now. Most of the illustrators remained in Ukraine and kept working from bomb shelters.

Established since the start of the war, the website already has more than 150 works created by over 30 Ukrainian illustrators, and this number is only growing. The aim is to increase media visibility of the site so that people from other countries know about actual events in Ukraine.

Rosie Davies said: “Swansea Print Workshop (SPW) is one of the first artist organisations in the UK to respond and SPW member Melvyn Williams quickly set up an exhibition of some of the hundreds of artworks showing the realities of life in a modern warzone.

“Most war art is officially commissioned and filtered through the political lens of governments or the military. This art is by people on the ground reacting to what is happening to them as it is happening. It is an historical document and an insight into the real lives of people who want the world to know what they are going through.

“Melvyn has also made a short film featuring some of the artists in the Pictoric group which can be seen below. The interviews were recorded on the 20th April 2022.”

As a union of young and successful arts professionals, the Pictoric Club organizes art exhibitions, master classes, lectures, and round tables facilitates collaboration between the artists and publishers.

Since Pictoric was established in 2014, it has created many international and national projects, which involved the best illustrators from Ukraine and abroad.

Among the most notable projects are “Prominent Ukrainians,” “Yellow & Blue”, “Face to face: human rights in the digital age”, “Trust, but verify: media literacy in Ukrainian society,” as well as the annual international exhibition of illustrations and lectures at the largest book festival “Book Arsenal” in Ukraine.

Explaining the project in a statement, Pictoric says: “We believe that illustration is one of the key ways to keep a dialogue between the artist and society. We believe that one image can tell more than a one-hour conversation. Pictoric illustrators create their works based on actual events.

Protest by Tanya Yakunova. ©

“An artist can subtly convey emotions through idea, composition and colour. Unlike a reporter’s documentary, an illustration designed by an artist creates a complete picture of the event.

“Of course, emotionally, it is challenging to work in the current situation. However, to keep working, we believe, is the best we can do now as it is also our professional responsibility. Also, after the war, these illustrations will go down in history as a document that covers all these terrible things that are happening now.

“Currently, we feel the support from different countries, where people go to rallies, host refugees and help with humanitarian aid. However, our biggest fear is that the world will get tired of this agenda and will return to its normal rhythm of life after some time.

“Of course, we don’t want the world to be constantly in tension, but we want to spread the word as much as possible so that people know how devastating our reality is today. It’s one thing to watch the news on TV, and a completely different feeling to be in it, absorbing an artistically-interpreted image that will stay in your heart.”

You can visit the Swansea Print Workshop Exhibition here and see the full exhibition and find out how to support the artists here. Follow Pictoric on Facebook to find out about exhibitions worldwide.

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