Street Art of the Ukrainian Capital
After the reunification of Germany, the 'fallen' wall became a symbol of freedom, and also a canvas for artists from around the world. The largest and most famous of the preserved sections of the Berlin Wall turned into an open-air graffiti gallery — East Side Gallery. Street art is a way of communicating with society to cover important topics. The same can be said in Ukraine where murals started appearing everywhere in 2014
“Revival” on St. Andrew’s Descent is one of the most famous murals in Kyiv. It appeared after the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, symbolizing Ukraine and its rebirth.
“I think this painting has a secret. It’s a secret atmosphere. It’s very beautiful and the color is very beautiful,” Si Wen, a Chinese tourist said.
“Contemporary art should move forward. People want to showcase beauty. I especially like Berlin. In Germany, there is a lot of street art, a lot of murals and this is cool. It’s very inspiring,” Khrystyna, a tattoo studio administrator said.
Thanks to the murals, the walls of ordinary houses become screens to send important messages.
“I am very glad that Kyiv also joined the world of street art. The murals surrounding us can speak. Every Kyiv mural tells us about ecology, war, children, about something that we should not forget,” Kyiv tour manager Kateryna Buzova said.
The artists create some works with the support of the state and various organizations.
One mural, “The Swallow’s Nest,” came about thanks to a United Nations refugee agency. The image of a child with a homemade passport on the background of the Crimean symbol – the Swallow’s Nest – was dedicated to stateless people.
“I just wanted to draw attention to the fact that a lot of people are deprived of their rights. After all, citizenship gives certain rights. Many people are deprived of this for some reasons that are beyond their control,” artist Kateryna Rudakova said.
The Boy with Paper Airplanes mural appeared in Kyiv in 2015 to shift the attention of the younger generation from gadget screens to simple joys. The author of the mural is Oleksandr Korban, an artist from Donbas who worked in a mine for five years and learned to draw on his own.
Now the muralist is working in Mykolayiv on another social project. “Embrace Yourself” is designed to help women who have suffered from domestic violence.
“For me, the main thing is that the murals fit harmoniously into their environment. Because I leave and forget about it. But residents of this city or districts in Kyiv, they live with this picture and notice it. First of all, this is for them,” Korban said.
Artists already created more than 150 murals around Kyiv. In 2018, another eight murals on the theme of national unity were created underground. They decorate one of the Kyiv metro stations.