This graphite pencil drawing ‘Slava Ukraini – 15-02-23’ is a depiction of The Motherland Monument in Kyiv, Ukraine. Since the Russo-Ukrainian War became full-blown last year a lot of things happened. In the first half of 2023. I made a couple of works with that theme but they were more gentle than this one. Back then, before the 24th of February, I secretly hoped Putin wouldn’t be pushing through his invasion eventually. Little did we know of gross atrocities committed and the monstruous scale of warfare. It seems to take on proportions absurdically medieval. In the meantime, I was doing my regular female forms, watching front news on youtube on a daily basis. I feel almost guilty, munching my diner away behind a screen, watching daily topics. Maybe we all do, here in the free West. How about you?
Time to make a stand. I handled political and social-cultural theme in the past. Such can be seen in ‘The Restoration of Bettie Page (2020)’ and ‘The Proud Brothers – 04-02-20’. There aren’t many drawings I made for which I already had an sound idea. This one is different though. I have an oil painting of Melina Noëlle upcoming. I included a painting of aforemeant monument in that one. Hence, this drawing is not a prestudy but more a precursor of that painting. Anyway, time to get political again. Of course we cannot stand the violation of human rights on massive scale, right? But what can we do? Then again, I am an international lawyer and an artist. Hey, what goes for the pen is mightier than the sword also counts for a pencil. At least there is something I can do, what I must do.
Lately I happened to scroll through the Wikipedia page on Kyiv where I read about the monument. Originally crafted by the Soviets there were plans to replace the old Soviet symbol with the Ukrainian Trident. In order to push the Ukrainians in the right direction I decided to give a good example. I also thought it would be wise to fantasize about some words that would form a post-war slogan. Something that could vest a mindset for not having to be afraid of a big bullying neighbor anymore. I chose the words: peace, justice, resilience and creativity. Ukrainians have these qualities in abudance for sure. It was good fun to draw and paint the statue. It reminded me to the overexaggerated bodily features only Tamara de Lempicka can create. Her nudes seemed to be poored in concrete just like Kolchoz poster beauties during Soviet times.
So there you have it: my statement. Just to rub it in more profoundly, here is what I really want to say. I am directing myself directly to Russians this time. Come to your senses. Join the international community once again. Let’s solve mightier problems like global warming by getting rid of fossil fuels. You are the land of Gagarin, Pushkin, Repin, Tsjaikovski and Tolstoj. Grand by nature. However, here is an axioma for you: Russia invaded Ukraine and Ukraine didn’t provoke her. If you do not agree, find your own paradigm in a parallel universe. See how violence as normal practice will pan out there. This message also goes out to conspiracy theorists and all other idiots on the globe justifying this war. My advice to Russians: Don’t believe in so-called strong men anymore. What’s wrong with choosing an comedian? He does a better job than yours.
Graphite pencil (Faber Castell Pitt Graphite Matt pencil 14B) drawing Talens Bristol paper (21 x 29.7 x 0.1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers
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