Artists from the Kingdom hold benefit show in Ukraine

As war rages in Ukraine following the Russian military offensive, millions of Ukrainians have become refugees who are either displaced within their own country or forced to flee abroad and seek refuge in neighboring countries like Poland or even further west in other parts of the EU.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainian homes and buildings have been destroyed by shelling which has also claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians at the same time and parts of the country are facing shortages of basic necessities like food and medications.

In response to the humanitarian crisis there, artists from the Kingdom and around the world who live and work in Cambodia – including Ukrainians – are organizing a charity art exhibition and sale with proceeds going to organizations that actively provide vital supplies and services to the war-torn country and its large refugee population.

The two-week exhibition will begin on June 5, 2022 and is curated by AiR Gallery at The Factory Phnom Penh.

The exhibition – called life will win – is hosted by the FT gallery and supported by the HBS Foundation. It will include a fashion show from Armada by Abello and all proceeds from the exhibition, fashion show and other fundraising events will be used to support the humanitarian relief efforts that are essential to prevent loss of life. even more important throughout Ukraine.

The idea for the exhibition’s title came from a phrase in a speech given by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the European Parliament on March 1 at the start of the war, when most international observers and experts still believed that Ukraine would be quickly defeated by the much larger and better equipped Russian army.

“Life will prevail over death and light will prevail over darkness,” Zelensky said towards the end of a speech so inspiring and moving that the translator looked like he was holding back tears as he relayed the words of the President.

“It sums up the idea of ​​hope in such a terrible context that our brothers and sisters in Ukraine are currently enduring with war by saying that in the end, even if it can be expensive, life always wins”, says Miguel Jeronimo, one of the co-organizers of the exhibition.

Zelensky’s words that day went far, reaching a global audience and helping to rally Europe, the United States and dozens of other countries around the world to come to the aid of Ukraine in all possible capacities, while drawing favorable comparisons with historical speeches like that of Winston Churchill. speech “we will fight on the beaches” at the beginning of the Second World War.

“Zelensky said the will to survive and thrive always trumps any act of oppression or aggression and I felt I had to do something to help, however small,” said Jeronimo, photographer and artist based in Phnom Penh. from Portugal.

The exhibition was set up in collaboration with Lyudmila Grebenyuk – a Ukrainian educator living in Cambodia – and a group of other volunteers from the capital’s artistic community.

Harkiv (Ukraine) by Bogdan Galata and Rejuvenation (Cambodia) by Sewkhy are among the dozens of works in the exhibition. PROVIDED

They tried to select artwork that would illuminate the current situation but also convey a message of peace rather than demonize the Russian people – many of whom are against war, especially those living abroad.

Many of the artworks in the exhibition are actually from Ukrainian artists living in various places around the world in order to show their country’s beauty, talent and culture and give people something to remember about Ukraine in apart from the grim images and headlines of war. .

According to Jeronimo, there are more than 100 different works of art by 40 artists in the exhibition and available for purchase to raise funds to help Ukraine in this time of desperate need. The artworks range from paintings to photographs to prints of illustrations and other formats, according to Jeronimo.

“It is a very diverse range of talents and mediums, and we are very grateful that, for example, many young Cambodian artists have heard the call and agreed to donate their art to help ‘humanitarian effort,” Jeronimo told The Post.

Some of the Ukrainian artists who contributed to the exhibition still live in their home country but have fled to western regions such as the city of Lviv.

Grebenyuk, the Ukrainian artist who helped organize the exhibition, was understandably deeply shaken by the events of the past few months, even though she watched them from afar.

“On February 24, when the full-scale Russian invasion began, all of us Ukrainians, at home and around the world, felt the same feelings: terror, anxiety, shock and despair,” Grebenyuk said.

She says the horrific events like the intentional bombing of dozens of hospitals, schools and other civilian structures, the numerous rapes of women by Russian soldiers, the forced deportation of Ukrainians to Russia to live in prisoners and the torture and execution of young Ukrainian men. who are soldiers or even just suspected of being enemy combatants are still taking place in his country, although the fighting is now mainly in eastern and southern Ukraine following Russia’s failed attempt to take the capital Kyiv in a lightning raid at the beginning of the war which ended in humiliation for their army, which was forced to withdraw and retreat due to heavy losses and a lack ability to resupply their troops there.

“As we all have our families and loved ones in Ukraine, it hurts to see them suffer,” she told the Post. “Anyone who is willing to help my people should attend this event as we are holding this fundraising exhibition at Galerie AiR in Factory Phnom Penh with all donations and sales to be sent to charities working in Ukraine.

Content Image - Phnom Penh Post

The Ukrainian Apsara by Raphaël Pech (France/Cambodia). PROVIDED

Grebenyuk is the person who was able to contact many Ukrainian artists whose work is in the exhibition and she arranged to send shipments of things like medicine to her contacts there.

Many of his friends are artists and not the kind of people best suited for combat roles, but they still risk their lives volunteering in the field and helping refugees and others affected by war. providing them with things like food and medical care. Provisions.

The artwork available for purchase at the June 5 show comes in many different mediums and styles and includes both one-off items and prints in partnership with LPC Printing, according to Jeronimo.

“All funds generated from sales will go to support five organizations and volunteer groups currently helping in Ukraine,” he said.

The five organizations will also benefit from a charity bazaar to be held on Saturday, June 4 at Coconut Park.

A group with a very fitting background story that the donations will go to support is the Kyiv Angels. It is a voluntary group of 50 young creative professionals and artists who provide food and medicine in the Kyiv region.

Another of the beneficiaries will be a fundraising campaign set up by Phnom Penh’s own Yulia Khouri, a longtime expat in the Kingdom known for her charity work and philanthropy.

Khouri is currently in Ukraine working with the NGO Between Us in Lviv helping them raise funds to buy food and also baby items like diapers or formula to help the ongoing mass exodus of refugees fleeing from the war zone in the eastern border regions of Russia.

“You can help save the lives of many refugees and war-affected people by ensuring they have the food and medical supplies they need to survive,” says Jeronimo.

“Come show your support for the refugees and witness the diversity of Ukraine’s talented and vibrant culture that existed before the invasion,” Grebenyuk said.

From 4 p.m. on June 5 at The Factory there will be music and a fashion show organized in collaboration with ARMADA by ABELLO with volunteer models.

“We will have music with DJ’s Bilel, Aaron and Ali, in addition to the fashion show of Reynier Abello from the Armada brand”, specifies Jeronimo.

Another event organized by Ukrainians living here in Phnom Penh to help their country and its people will be the Charity Bazaar filled with vendors and artists in Coconut Park which will be held the same weekend on Saturday June 4th from 4pm to 8pm.

“All sales and donations from the Charity Bazaar will go to the charity Future of Ukraine, which helps Ukraine’s most vulnerable children and Ukrainian refugees displaced by the invasion,” Jeronimo said.

For more details about the exhibition on Facebook, check: @FTGalleryPhnomPenh

For more information on the Charity Bazaar: fb.me/e/4tYZaXBeY

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