• Olexander Klimenko | Mother of God With Child


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    Mother of God With Child, 2022

    Tempera on wood from Russian ammunition boxes rescued by Ukrainian soldiers from battlefields near Kyiv.

    40x35cm |15.7x13.8 inches

    In this icon, the viewer's attention is focused on the faces of the Mother and the Child. Their apparent well-being is compromised by a crack in the board the icon is painted on, exposing a transverse block of wood that gives the board stability and protects it from deformation. These transverse blocks usually sit on the reverse side of the block the image is painted on and do not have any pictorial function. While the war is going on, what is hidden from view under normal circumstances is often exposed. Sometimes these are unthinkable tragedies, and sometimes they are very supportive hidden structures that keep everything together. In this image, the faces of the Virgin Mary and her Son as well as the puritan design of the board are important. Everything else seems to be washed away, destroyed, unimportant. It's like one of the most important discoveries of the war - it's scary when so many things disappear forever, but it's reverently breathtaking when you see how the most important thing stands inviolably.

    © Olexander Klimenko

    Icons on Ammunition Boxes is a conceptual project by Ukrainian artists Sonia Atlantova and Olexander Klimenko launched in 2014. Icons painted on fragments from Russian ammunition boxes from the war zone in Ukraine serve as silent war witnesses and at the same time symbols of victory of life over death. From September 2015, this project has been supporting The First Volunteer Mobile Hospital named after Mikola Pirogov, the largest private hospital in Ukraine fully operational during the current war helping the army and civilian population.