Ukrainian Resistance, oil on linen, 53"X72", 2022. Photo: Guy L'Heureux

Painting for Ukraine ­čç║­čçŽ

My view of Russia's war in Ukraine depicted in a painting. Because... I just couldn't do nothing.

Like a lot of you, I was (and still am) appalled by the atrocities of the war in Ukraine. Since the beginning of the conflict, the first thing I do in the morning is read the headlines of every related update I missed on the CNN app. Watching civilians being killed while they seek shelter or wait in line for bread, or hospitals, schools and maternity wards being bombarded, is downright horrific. I felt so powerless it was unbearable.

My husband suggested that I paint something on the subject. A kind of exorcism. So, I did. Even if it meant diverging from my preferred subjects and style.

I decided to paint a large work depicting the astonishing Ukrainian resistance.

A variation on the theme of David vs. Goliath. On the right, a Russian soldier peeks from a shell hole and points his gun inside a teared down kindergarten. He looks partly afraid and partly surprised at what he finds inside. Opposing him amidst the rubble stands a Ukrainian boy, pointing back a colourful toy gun with all his might. A bright rainbow emerges magically from his canon to repel the aggressor.

This rainbow refers to a recent declaration of patriarch Kirill of Moscow. In an attempt to justify the Russian invasion, he said it was caused by a metaphysical clash between Russia and the West. He accused the West of imposing its liberal values to other countries by forcing them to systematically host gay-pride parades. As if the celebration was extorted in order to join some sort of decadent club. Of course, this is highly laughable coming from a bearded man in a dress. And I perfectly understand he feels troubled by lightly covered parading bodies. But to be threatened to the point of waging a war?

Enough with the nonsense and back to my artwork. In the background of my painting, several objects represent the Ukrainian peopleÔÇÖs hope to belong to the European community. The symbol of the Euro currency is painted as a large 3D foam letter that lies at the bottom of a ladder. Also, behind the boy glows the vast landscape of the Bavarian Alps where the Neuschwanstein castle is nested. In the scene, Europe, presented as a castle, embodies safety. And I didnÔÇÖt choose any castle. Neuschwanstein is the one that inspired DisneylandÔÇÖs iconic castle. It therefore weaves together the longing for protection along with a fairy-tale fantasy pierced by bullet holes. Finally, I added the circle of stars of the European flag as a kind of halo over the head of the Ukrainian boy, celebrating his sacrifice for democracy.

As I was painting this image, I reflected a lot on the power of art. At first, I thought it had none or very little.

What can a painting do against tanks and hypersonic missiles?

Nothing. Art is too soft. But itÔÇÖs because art acts on another level. Inside our minds. It can be a denunciation or a rallying cry. It can enhance the feeling of belonging to a community and build bridges. It can console the victims. No weapon will ever be able to do these things. So yes, art is powerful.

Art is war without the blood.

My Contribution for Ukraine

This piece is for sale entirely for the profit of Ukraine. 100% of the value of the work will go to KyivPride, a NGO that protects and supports LGBTQ+ in Kyiv. In normal times, discrimination against this community is a problem. So, imagine under the boots of Russian invaders...

If you want to make a statement in support of Ukraine and, at the same time, acquire a large artwork that commemorates contemporary history, well, click on the button below and buy it! Or email me for any question you might have.


The Group Exhibition "XL5"

This work will be part of the "XL5" group exhibition presented from June 17th to August 14th, 2022, at the Maison de la Culture du Plateau-Mont-Royal in Montreal. Come meet me at the opening on June 17th and see it in the flesh along with the large scale works of 28 other painters! Click here for more information on this colossal exhibition.

P.S. - Want to be the first to know about my latest works? Click here and I will keep you up to date in Messenger.

More Stories

Leave a Comment: