On display at the Museum of Russian Icons In Clinton MA.
“As far back as the Stone Age, parts of the birch tree have been used across Northern Europe and Russia. Craftspeople and homemakers learned to use the tree for wallpaper, lumber, medicine, tea, shoes, writing paper, and other creative applications. Birch wood and bark quickly became a common material for more decorative forms of folk art as well. Woodcarving adorned buildings across Russia, and even the homes of peasants were decorated with spectacular birch carvings.”
Siberian artist Vladimir Tulyak created highly detailed and delicately hued icons from layers of birch bark.
The Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, MA has mounted a thought provoking exhibition that strongly supports Ukraine during its conflict with Russia.
The Museum of Russian Icons presents Artists for Ukraine: Transforming Ammo Boxes into Icons, November 3, 2022 – February 13, 2023, an installation dramatically showcasing three Ukrainian icons painted on the boards of ammunition boxes by Oleksandr Klymenko and Sofia Atlantova, a husband-wife artistic team from Kyiv, Ukraine.
The project “Buy an Icon—Save a Life” was developed in response to the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine, when Klymenko encountered empty wooden ammunition boxes from combat zones and noted their resemblance to icon boards (doski). By repurposing the panels, the project strives, in the artist’s words, to “transform death (symbolized by ammo boxes) into life (traditionally symbolized by icons in Ukrainian culture). The goal, this victory of life over death, happens not only on the figurative and symbolic level but also in reality through these icons on ammo boxes.”
Exhibitions of the ammo box icons have been staged throughout Europe and North America to raise awareness of the ongoing war in Ukraine. In addition, sales have provided substantial funds to support the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital, the largest nongovernmental undertaking to provide medical assistance to the Donbas region. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 strengthened the resolve of Atlantova and Klymenko to continue painting icons on boards taken back from the frontlines. To date, the project has raised more than $300,000.
A goal of the installation will be to help raise monies for the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital.