Olexander Klimenko | Apostole Peter


Apostole Peter, 2023
Tempera on fragment from wooden box for AK cartridges brought from the battle field in Bakhmut, Ukraine
41 x 34cm | 16.4 x 13.6 in

© Olexander Klimenko

According to tradition, Apostle Peter is the gatekeeper of Paradise. The key to Paradise is a common attribute of his iconography. An important detail of this icon is also a key as it is not a painted image of a key, but the real key from zinc tins where cartridges are stored. It is the key that opens metal containers with cartridges, like cans. Metal containers, in turn, are stored in wooden boxes. The key attached to the icon of St. Peter transforms its meaning from the antinomy of Hell to Paradise. The theme of Paradise is the key motif of the “Icons on Ammo Boxes™” project. Paradise is a dream, the goal of all Ukrainians who are currently living in hell of a terrible, bloody war with the aggressor, a war for peaceful future.

Icons on Ammunition Boxes ™

From 2014, Ukrainian artists Sofia Atlantova and Olexander Klimenko have been using wooden fragments from ammunition boxes abandoned by Russian soldiers on the battle fields in Ukraine to paint icons and donating all sale proceeds to mobile hospitals that provide urgent medical care to wounded Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. Since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in late February, 2022, their work remains more relevant than ever.