Fight With Art

By James Bacon: “Fight With Art” is an exhibition of Ukrainian Contemporary Art created under exceptional circumstances taking place now in Kraków at the Manggha Museum until April 30. 

We reached out to curator Artur Wabik to learn more of this topical exhibition:

“The War in Ukraine affects the entirety of Europe and European people, including artists, curators, and other workers in the cultural sector. While providing shelter to refugees, and sending food and supplies to the fighters, we must not forget that our first language of expression is culture and art. With this strong foundation, we can fight today for truth and peace. Culture is the arbiter of civil society, it prevents us from sliding into the arms of brash propaganda and naked aggression.

“This is perfectly understood by the artists from Ukraine, who have been involved in building a civil society since 2014, creating works that comment on the current political and social situation. Many of them arise in opposition to Russian disinformation. Perhaps that is why they eagerly use popular, concise art forms, such as murals, stencils, posters, or comics.

“This War that now engulfs Ukraine meant that many of these artists had to put away their pencils and paintbrushes and reach for real weapons. One of them is street art artist, Dima Fatum, whose illustration, which is the leitmotif of the exhibition, was created a few days ago in the bombed Kharkiv. Others emigrated to Poland, where they started cooperation with the local artistic community and formed new friendships.

“It is our duty to give a voice to artists from Ukraine and to create a platform for the presentation of their works. Both those created at the front and those created in exile, Ukrainian contemporary art, and its creators need our support more than ever. We give selflessly, remembering that once Polish artists also received shelter and support from greater Europe. Today, we honor an old debt and we will pay and pay it forward, and persevere.

“Fight With Art is a living, experimental exhibition that will change. As life has now unexpectedly changed because of the war in Ukraine.”

The exhibition was opened on Monday, April 4, and there are some meetings planned with the Ukrainian artists and art critics who are already in Kraków. There is also a desire to launch an online auction of selected works.

As well as refugees who have found safety in Kraków, artists from Kyiv and Lviv are represented. Most of them are members of Ukrainian Assembly Comix or The Will Publishing.

(The Patreon we mentioned for The Will and the Anthology Comic The War is going very well with art being added continually — (https://www.patreon.com/TheWillProduction).) 

The exhibition is presented as part of FestivALT in cooperation with the Muzeum Komiksu and the Muzeum Sztuki i Techniki Japo?skiej Manggha at the Manggha Museum – Marri Konopnickiej 26, Krakow, Poland.

Artur Wabik adds, “Some artists hid their works to protect their art from the war and they agreed to transport their works to Lviv and from there to Krakow in order to make them available to a wider audience, others sent us the materials in electronic form to be printed in Krakow. Others are Ukrainian artists currently living in Poland. We want help Ukrainian artists fight with their art!”

FB video of exhibition by Viktoriia Steblyk: https://fb.watch/cl14FVUKI_/

Two images and poster. 

The following works were created in March by Dima Fatum, a street art artist who was involved in a territorial defense of Kharkiv. All of them are war-related and were created between shellings.

Many thanks and best wishes to Artur and all the Ukranian artists.  

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