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