What the arts do to help Ukrainian refugees?

A demonstrator holds up a placard in support of refugees at a protest in Trafalgar Square, London

Now that more than two million Ukrainian refugees are fleeing war-torn Ukraine, what can art do? Counterpoints Arts is a charity that works with refugee artists and creates programs in various art forms on the topic of migration and displacement in the UK and beyond.

Their mission is based on the belief that art can inspire social change. Art can contribute to the inclusion and cultural integration of Ukrainian refugees and migrants.

A growing number of Ukrainian artists and cultural organizations in Cape Cod and the islands quickly and independently banded together. Their goal is to find unusual ways in which their talents can make a difference in order to help the Ukrainian people suffering due to the ongoing Russian invasion.

Art auctions and sales, theatrical performances, concerts, film screenings, exhibitions, gatherings and solicitations for donations are some of the fundraising ideas that have emerged in recent days with the sole purpose of helping Ukrainian refugees. People are simply doing their best to make a difference in the world during the humanitarian crisis caused by the war.

‘Craftsman’ Euegene Zhukau

Mobilization proceeded quickly as locals read and watched footage of people, including children who had been hurt and killed, and millions of Ukrainian refugees crossing borders. Artists and cultural officials say they have realized that the scars of war are just beginning, and they are shocked, outraged, and upset by what is happening miles away.

Janine Perry, artistic director of the Cape Rep Theater in Brewster, said they all thought they could help.

“What we can do is do our best to donate some money… and we can be together and do something positive. … It’s a recognition that you all feel the same way, and that you can do something, no matter how small and how far away we may be.”

Rejoicing that other local artists are also taking steps to support humanitarian causes, Provincetown-based artist Jo Hay, who last week raised $2,300 in a two-day #ArtForUkraine virtual auction for her portrait of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said diverse creative efforts make all the difference which can be considered a link between something.

Jo Hay`s portrait of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was auctioned for 2,300$ to help Ukrainian refugees

When she tried to deflect praise for her efforts, a fan told her, “Think of it like you’re inspiring people to make things happen,” Haye said. “And I was able to accept that in that moment as my role.” Yevgeny Zhukov, who reached over $1,000 by mid-week on his own Instagram auction of three 1908 Provincetown cyanotype images, put it simply: “Art is the language of love.”

This message has taken and will continue to take many forms across the region, and those who are already participating hope that what they are doing will inspire even more. Here are some ways local artists are asking other people to help.

Through Young Eyes Exhibition, Cape Cod Art Museum

Officials at the Cape Cod Art Museum have lit up Dennis’ façade with the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag for the foreseeable future. They collect donations to the Ukrainian Children’s Fund (www.savethechildren.org). Including through 100% entrance tickets this weekend as part of the opening of the 19th annual youth art exhibition Through the Eyes of the Young.

Benton Jones, art museum director said that as they celebrated the creative achievements of the youth of Cape Cod, it would also be appropriate to remember the children of Ukraine who face such hardships and an uncertain future.

The exhibition, which runs until May 8, features sculptures, paintings, collages, ceramics and other works by 90 Cape 12 students selected by art teachers from 15 schools in the region, as well as 12 teachers. Mediums also include printmaking, drawing, textile and multimedia art.

Through Young Eyes Exhibition, Cape Cod Art Museum

‘Craftsman’ uses images of new home to help his birthplace

Zhukov, who was born in Belarus near the Ukrainian border, was due to complete his social media paper and glass art auction this weekend, inspired by Provincetown, his favorite foster home for the past eight years.

At first he learned Belarusian and Russian, but in written reviews he said: “I learned Ukrainian myself, because I wanted to understand their music, read their poems, sing their songs. You cannot learn any language without loving the people who speak it. And I sincerely love Ukrainians and their culture.”

‘Craftsman’ Euegene Zhukau

The idea for his auction contribution to the #ArtForUkraine movement came about while walking with a friend on the beach the day after the February 24 Russian invasion, he said, and he thought the coastal erosion was similar to the losses suffered in Ukraine.

Disheartened at first, he said, he began to see how much cape was left despite the changes. He thought that maybe he and the art he created from a 1908 aerial photo postcard of the Pilgrim Monument, the Provincetown skyline, could help war-torn Ukraine.


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