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‘Sort of a small miracle’: Winnipeg-born actor on the helm of artwork public sale for Ukraine – Winnipeg



Olena Kayinska was compelled to place down her paintbrush on the finish of February.

The Ukrainian artist was in the midst of a undertaking when Russian troops invaded her nation, prompting her to depart her studio and keep together with her mom.

Ideas of returning to artwork appeared like a luxurious amid all of the loss of life and destruction, however the occasions additionally supplied materials for the undertaking she needed to unexpectedly abandon six months in the past.

Now, a few of her items are amongst these featured in a world on-line public sale co-organized by a former Winnipegger.

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“In a mystical method, it’s very related to the conflict,” Kayinska stated in a cellphone interview from Lviv, Ukraine. The undertaking titled Trauma explores the theme of restoration.

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Along with her profession in limbo, Kayinska knew she wanted to do one thing that might not solely occupy her time, but in addition give her the flexibility to assist her individuals. So she joined Medical doctors With out Borders as an interpreter and undertaking supervisor with the humanitarian group.

“Psychologically, it’s simpler to beat this concern and lack of conflict while you’re surrounded with individuals and if you find yourself doing one thing helpful,” she stated.

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One other calling, this time extra in step with Kayinska’s roots, got here in spring when members of FestivALT, a Krakow-based Jewish arts and activism group, reached out on social media to see if she needed to be a part of a world artwork public sale known as Combat with Artwork.

Winnipeg-born actor and playwright Michael Rubenfeld, who now lives in Krakow, Poland, is co-director of the public sale together with James Arellano, who’s from California.

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Rubenfeld obtained a close-up view of the conflict’s scary results as many fleeing western Ukraine crossed over the border to hunt refuge in Poland. He and his spouse took in a Ukrainian girl and her mom quickly after the invasion. Their dwelling shortly crammed with tourniquets, bandages and different provides as the lady led efforts to gather provides to distribute to the Ukrainian military.

It was clear the conflict’s results didn’t finish on the border and the artwork collective wanted to pivot, stated Rubenfeld.

“There was simply a lot information and a lot noise in regards to the conflict that we needed to make sure that there was additionally a contribution of the human aspect, the cultural aspect to additionally preserve individuals rooted in the truth that we’re coping with people,” he stated.

The workforce got here up with the concept to host a web based world artwork public sale to showcase and help Ukrainian artists whose careers had been halted, in addition to financially help charities helping with conflict reduction.

They have been in a position to supply greater than 130 items of authentic paintings from roughly 40 artists throughout Ukraine.

It was no small feat.

The workforce had to determine the right way to get artwork out of a rustic at conflict.

They constructed a community of individuals to assist. Their objective was to get every thing to Lviv, in western Ukraine, the place they’d two storehouses. The artwork was then transported by truck to Krakow. It took about two months to gather every thing.

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“It was form of a small miracle that we managed to get all of it right here,” stated Rubenfeld. “When the ultimate truck got here, we have been simply so overjoyed that it arrived since you by no means know with a rustic at conflict.”

The gathering consists of items performed earlier than and after the conflict began.

Artists are combating to protect their tradition and folks in opposition to genocide, and the public sale is a option to present the world what Ukraine is thru artwork, stated Rubenfeld.

“The trade is just not that you simply purchased a chunk of artwork, it’s that you simply’ve really contributed to a people who find themselves making an attempt to protect their nation and tradition.”

For Nata Levitasova, practising artwork has turn into a type of remedy.

“Artwork has helped me really feel rather less ache and now it (takes) my consideration from conflict to artwork,” she stated by cellphone from the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine.

The artist, whose fashion displays neocubism and geometric simplification, submitted 10 work to the public sale. All items have been created earlier than the invasion, however she has since created a collection known as PAINted, which displays themes of conflict.

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The public sale goes till Sept. 4. Extra data will be discovered at fightwithart.com.

Again in Lviv, Kayinska says Russian assaults have diminished. She has been in a position to develop 4 items in regards to the conflict for her Trauma undertaking. Whereas the long run stays unsure, she hopes to someday exhibit the undertaking internationally.

Paintings popping out of Ukraine is displaying the true spirit, power and resistance of artists, she says.

“The artwork exhibits issues that we simply now are beginning to reveal in ourselves.”

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