Art has the power to inspire, influence, and sometimes even inflame. No matter the context, it has the singular ability to connect with people on a visceral level. In light of recent events unraveling in the Ukraine, it comes as no surprise that artists everywhere are expressing their feelings through works that deliver an impactful message, simultaneously reacting the horror of the Russian invasion and displaying an unwavering support for the Ukrainian people.
Photo: Daniella Herodesova
Colorful, impactful, and bold, the following pieces act as portals that connect and empower the viewer — a small step toward dispelling the sense of hopelessness and outrage that people feel when confronted with atrocities that are far away and ultimately out of our control.
Photo: Kasia Rubin
Kasia Rubin, a Polish artist living in France, expressed her feelings through an expressive watercolor of a woman holding a Ukrainian flag a, with the blurred outlines of other flags clumped together on the ground facing a blazing sunrise. Rubin recently explained her pieces to My Modern Met, stating “this art was my reaction to the military attack…fast and furious art…from the bottom of my heart with hope that other countries will react.” Ultimately, she hopes to share her own message of “peace and love for Ukraine”: a feeling shared by many across the world.
Photo: Shamsia Hassani
Graffiti/street artist Shamsia Hassani showed her support with a powerful piece depicting a woman rising out of the rubble. As pieces of the building below her fall away, the buildings themselves, branded with signs of peace and love, fall into dust, and the faceless woman weeps. Hassani also shared a message with her art, expressing her empathy, feelings of loss, and connection with the plight of Ukrainian people: “Ukraine, I feel your pain, I am also hit hard by the war…I feel the pain of your children. I am sorry for what your people have lost and are about to lose.”
Photo: Oliver Jeffers
Oliver Jeffers showed his support for the Ukraine through his impactful piece depicting a series of bombs emblazoned with the question: “Why are we back here?” The colors are gray and dismal except for the brilliant red of the warheads, catching the eye and forcing the viewer to contemplate the same senseless question of war that inevitably arises with such conflicts: why?
Photo: Dinara Mirtalipova
Photo: Lucy Claire
The above are just a few examples of recent works that are emerging as a response to the invasion. Undoubtedly, artists will continue their outpourings of support, dissent, and outrage in the coming days. Whether it’s a call to action or a reaction to events half a world away, these works offer a way for people everywhere to connect to something larger than themselves, and a powerful reminder of art’s ability to create shared emotional experiences and shine a light on even the darkest days.