Olexander Klimenko | Saint George on Black Horse


Saint George on Black Horse, 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

The wood board darkened by time with a warrior on a black and not a more familiar white horse, a composition from which everything superfluous has been removed in order to achieve maximum emblematical meaning, is a testament not only to the future, dreams of victory over the Russian invaders, but also to the fact that the joy of this victory for us, Ukrainians, will always be overshadowed by the death of heroes whose lives cannot be returned. The black horse, traditional for medieval Ukrainian iconography, acts in this icon as a symbol of hieratic sorrow for all those who won, but did not return, giving their lives for the sake of victory.

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.