The war in Ukraine has had a devastating effect on the world, also bringing out the generosity of many, especially in the UK. Many have graciously opened their homes to Ukrainian refugees or made donations to help those affected by the brutal conflict.
The country’s ongoing war with Russia has resulted in the destruction of countless buildings by Russian shelling, including several mosaic artworks. Since then, these mosaics have been recreated as part of an exhibition at the Old Royal Naval College in London to preserve Ukraine’s rich cultural heritage.
This audio-visual exhibition, called ‘Discover Ukraine: Bits Destroyed’, was part of the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, which took place in August. Commissioned by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute, the exhibition featured 56 Ukrainian mosaics, created between the 1960s and 80s.
Many of these mosaics are under threat or have already been destroyed as a result of the war. These “brightly coloured, hyper-intricate” mosaics are an important part of Ukrainian culture, showcasing themes from the Soviet period. The exhibit also features the sounds of fighting, representing the severe impact of the war and its effects on the country.
The exhibit brings to life Ukrainian mosaics, such as Boryviter (or Kestrel as we know it) and the Tree of Life by the late Ukrainian artist, Alla Horska. These artworks were created in Mariupol back in 1967, but were sadly destroyed by Russian shelling in July of this year.
However, through this exhibition, these mosaics, along with others, have been able to keep Ukraine’s rich heritage alive, even at times of war.
The project’s creative director – Tetyana Filevska of the Ukrainian Institute, said that “This part of our heritage is difficult to preserve during the devastating war, a significant part of mosaics will not survive in it.”
She then went on to say that “This project allows us to learn about Ukraine’s art that is being demolished by Russian bombs every day. It is a way to keep at least a memory of it as part of Ukraine’s rich heritage that the world has just started to discover.”
Mosaics have the ability to tell the stories of the past and present in a visual medium. In Ukraine’s case, public mosaics that deeply-rooted Ukrainian tradition. This exhibit is a perfect representation of the beauty of Ukrainian art, as well as the fighting spirit of the Ukrainian people who refuse to lie down against its aggressors.
If you’re interested in artist-inspired mosaic art, be sure to check out this article – Incredible UK Mosaic Tile Art You Need To See.