Olexander Klimenko | Orant


Orant, 2023
Tempera and gold leaf 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

The image of an orant is the most famous and most revered icon of Sophia of Kyiv – a safeguard of Kyiv, Kyiv region and all of Ukraine. It is believed that as long as the Mother of God keeps her hands raised in a prayer, the enemies will not be able to capture Kyiv. There is a belief that thanks to the intercession of the Mother of God, in the spring of 2022, the Russian occupying forces were unable to capture Kyiv. The orant iconography has an early Christian origin and is found even on the catacomb walls. The Kyiv image is also connected with the Old Testament story, namely the battle of the ancient Jews with the Amalekites, during which Moses prayed with raised hands. As his hands would drop, the Amalekites would begin to win. Icons on Ammunition Boxes™ project was launched in 2014. Icons painted on fragments from ammunition boxes from the war zones in Ukraine serve as silent war witnesses and at the same time symbols of victory of life over death.

© Olexander Klimenko

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.