Ukraine invasion: Refugees supported through power of art
14 March 2022
Artists and students in Reading are making original artwork available to buy to raise funds to support crucial humanitarian work in Ukraine.
A unique initiative, co-led by artists at the University of Reading and in Reading town, has launched Artists for Ukraine, a fundraising campaign receiving donations to support ‘Kuhknia’ (Kitchen) a private network of volunteers who are cooking meals, sourcing medicine and other vital supplies and arranging temporary accommodation for refugees stranded in Western Ukraine.
Professor Susanne Clausen in the University’s School of Art is working in a personal capacity to raise funds to support teams stationed in the cities of Lviv, on the Polish border, and Uzhgorod, on the Hungarian border.
The network was mobilised partly through research connections and over £4,000 has been raised so far from donations to ArtistsForUkraine.org.
A special art sale featuring paintings and prints by internationally renowned artists, and Reading students, staff and graduates will take place in Reading and online this month, with all funds going towards the cause.
Professor Clausen said: “Artists in Ukraine have organised themselves to provide food and shelter to people fleeing this desperate situation. They cook for refugees in makeshift kitchens and organise dormitories and beds in buildings like an old book factory.
“This shows what can be done by rallying together in difficult circumstances, and also demonstrates the power of art as a force for good. I have family and friends who are caught up in this brutal war, so I know the fear and danger people are experiencing hour by hour in Ukraine right now. We welcome any support people can give to our cause.”
The art sale will take place as part of a special ‘private view’ event at 571 Oxford Road Gallery & Open Hand Open Space Studios, on Thursday 24 March. Music and statements from those affected will also feature.
It has been organised by Professor Clausen, along with University students and members of the Reading cultural community, and follows grass roots fundraising events on campus.
Artwork up for sale include works by leading artists from Ukraine such as Lada Nakonechna, Zhanna Kadyrova, Nikita Kadan and Pavlo Makov, who are currently either sheltering or were forced to flee, as well as from leading UK artists, such as Kaye Donachie, and University art professor John Russell.
Tickets for access to the art sale are available via the Artists for Ukraine website.
The artwork can be viewed in advance of the sale on the website. After this, it will be available to view at 571 Oxford Road Gallery by appointment. Appointments can be made through the Artists for Ukraine website from Thursday 17 March.
More than 2 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine since the full-scale Russian invasion began on 24 February, involving the shelling of several towns and cities.
Refugees have been predominantly crossing the border to Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.
The United Nations has said up to 4 million may end up fleeing the country, describing the situation as potentially the ‘biggest refugee crisis this century’.
To make a donation, view the artwork up for sale or make an appointment to visit the gallery or attend the private view event, visit artistsforukraine.org
Artists for Ukraine Art Sale
Thursday March 24th 2022
571 Oxford Road Gallery
571 Oxford Road
RG30 1 HW
Image credit: Artists for Ukraine print by Jane Mechner and Molly Nolan, BA Art students