Kiev Art vs Weapons Poster01

Made in Maidan: Artwork From the Heart of Ukraine’s Revolution

The months-long protests in Independence Square toppled a president—and produced a wealth of art

Fires along the barricades, riot police with cudgels, celebrations in the streets—these are some of the images we’ve come to know from the Ukrainian revolution, which forced President Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country last month.

(Vocativ/Eugene Nikiforov)

Yet for many protesters, the images inspired by the revolution were just as important as the images of the revolution itself. Case in point: Mistetska Sotnya, an art collective at the forefront of the Kiev protests, was responsible for some of the uprising’s most striking artwork.

(Vocativ/Nikiforov Eugene)

Since the revolution began, Sotnya, which means “self-defense,” has held a variety of shows in the streets featuring musicians, circus acrobats and ballerinas, who performed right in front of the barricades. All the while, painters captured the scene, both its periods of fear and moments of celebration, in what they view as their contribution to the uprising.

As Maria Diorditchuk, an artist, designer and member of Sotnya, puts it: “I am a soldier at heart. I prefer to fight with my easel and a brush.”

Maria Diorditchuk stands in front of paintings she created earlier this year during the violent clashes in Kiev.
(Vocativ/Eugene Nikiforov)

The gallery below features photos by Eugene Nikiforov of Kiev’s protest art:

 

Respond Now
  • “Serhiy Kolyada got in hot water with Kyiv’s art establishment with his ballpoint-on-construction paper productions, portraying Kyiv as a melancholy zone of shadows. Check out his Web site (http://www.kolyada.com) to see his nude or semi-nude women depicted against shadowy backgrounds of corporate slogans.It’s art as social commentary: gutsy reflections on money, power and gender issues in Ukraine.” ( “50 Great Things About Kyiv” KYIV POST, Oct 20, 2004) “…Serhiy Kolyada’s politically infused ballpoint pen drawings have left him virtually ignored by galleries in his home country of Ukraine. Publicity comes mostly through English language media and a majority of sales to foreign clients via private viewings and online galleries… Kolyada works in black ballpoint, using other mediums and collage occasionally to add color. In 2006, religious themes and “the mystical side of life” became subjects of interest to the artist…” (“Ballpoint pen artwork”, WIKIPEDIA)

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