Sofia Atlantova | The Holy Virgin of Columbus


The Holy Virgin of Columbus, 2023
Tempera and gold leaf on fragment from wooden box for AK cartridges brought from the battle field in Bakhmut, Ukraine
48 x 28cm | 19 x 11 in

The Holy Virgin Martyr Columbus comes from Spain. She was arrested as a Christian and thrown into in a cage for prostitutes at the amphitheater. When a young soldier came to her with a clear purpose, the bear protected the girl and forced the soldier to flee. After that, no soldier dared to come near the Saint. But the emperor decided to burn the disobedient girl and her bear protector by starting the fire. Luckily, the rain stopped the fire. The bear fled to the forest but the head of the Holy Martyr was cut off. The image of a girl so pure that even a wild creature rushed to her defense resonates painfully when I think of the fate of Ukrainian girls during the war.

© Sofia Atlantova

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.