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Ukrainian art exhibit provides insight into ongoing war | Local News

In early March, a missile slammed into a high-rise building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, shattering Bella Logachova’s life and that of her 8-year-old son, Nikita.

They fled their house on the 16th floor and found temporary shelter with no water or kitchen, before eventually moving in with a friend.

It’s one of many grim experiences Logashova has faced as Russia’s war on Ukraine, frequently targeting civilians, enters its seventh month. But like her fellow Ukrainians, Logashova remained defiant, continuing to produce political art that chronicles the war and its terrible impact and the courageous resistance of Ukrainians.

An exhibit of artwork by Logachova opened Friday at Niagara University’s Castellani Art Museum. The exhibition, titled “Living Through War: Works from Kharkiv by Bella Logachova,” features 19 large canvases of digital art presented in chronological order. They begin when Russian forces invaded Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014 and end with six works of art depicting the war that began with the Russian invasion on February 24.

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The exhibition in Niagara Falls went quickly.

Museum director Ellen Owens and Michael Beam, curator of exhibitions and special projects, were approached by Sabine Kutt, photographer and art curator, about the idea of ​​exhibiting Logachova’s work.

“We were so moved by looking at this work that we decided, if possible, to organize an exhibition of an artist from another country living a war and to do it in three months with three different language barriers”, said Owens said.

“We want to bring the realities of this war to life in a powerful but also accessible way,” she said.

It’s especially timely now, Owens said, as the first Ukrainian refugees begin to resettle in western New York.

“This talented artist sharing these stories from her personal experience helps all of us at Niagara University, including students, faculty, staff and guests, better understand the causes and effects of this terrible war.” , said Tim Ireland, rector of the university.

Logachova, who lives in danger while continuing to teach media arts at the Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Art, made a brief video greeting viewers and thanking Niagara University for the exhibit.

Her works use cultural references, historical and modern symbols, and color accents to tell her framed stories.

“The often featured traditional embroidery is not just elemental decoration, but a symbol of both Ukrainian identity and resistance,” said Kutt, who co-curated the exhibit with Beam. “It is connected to images of tanks, rocket launchers and other military equipment.”

The rooster, which often appears, is a symbol of war. The brown and orange colors, Kutt said, are the colors of Ukrainian separatists, while the numbers in black represent people who have wreaked havoc in Ukraine and are labeled as “terrorists”.

‘WARWARWARWAR’ depicts bursts of gunfire and explosions, with footage of planes dropping bombs and artillery, produced the day Vladimir Putin freed tens of thousands of ground troops and terrifying aerial bombardment .

“Kindergarten 2022” shows a teddy bear and an alligator plummeting as an explosion rocks a school.

Two coins, somewhat ironically, depict major symbolic military losses for both Ukraine and Russia.

In “Mriya 2022”, the wings of a Ukrainian cargo plane are on fire during the first week of the war, resulting in the loss of what is claimed to be the heaviest aircraft with the largest wingspan. never built. “Moska Fire 2022” depicts large explosions and soldiers falling into the Black Sea after Ukrainian planes sank Russia’s flagship cruiser on April 14.

Five prints of artwork by Logachova are on sale at the museum, with all proceeds going to her to be distributed in a way she thinks will best meet the needs on the ground.

“The exhibition is powerful,” said Yuri Hreschchyshyn, president of the Buffalo branch – Committee of the Ukrainian Congress of America. “It left an impression on me to remember these events and how it is part of a larger narrative of Russia’s continued aggression against Ukraine.”

Victor Bandriwsky, a volunteer with the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Dnipro, said the exhibit will help raise awareness about the war. He also hopes it will inspire supporters to support both the war and the humanitarian effort.

“This is an unprovoked attack, but being so far away, there are many things Americans can do to help, including not only keeping our friends and family informed, but also helping Ukrainians,” Bandriwsky said.

The Ukrainian American Freedom Foundation, owner of the Dnipro center, has shipped 30 tons of medical supplies to Ukraine since the start of the war, including surgical equipment such as catheters, sutures and scalpels, as well as wheelchairs and hospital beds, Bandriwsky said.

The art exhibit, “Living Through War: Works from Kharkiv by Bella Logachova” at Niagara University’s Castellani Museum of Art on Thursday, July 28, 2022. Logachova is a Ukrainian artist whose digitally-made political works reflect the Ukraine’s ongoing confrontation with Russia that began in 2014 and escalated into all-out war in February. (Minh Connors/Buffalo News)

Minh Connors/Buffalo News

Some $400,000 has also been raised locally since the start of the war to buy body armor, helmets and tourniquets.

The foundation has also partnered with Help for Ukraine, a local organization, to pay for several shipments of humanitarian supplies to war-torn towns, including diapers and baby food.

“I ask that you continue to stay informed, donate and support Ukraine by participating in Ukrainian events in Buffalo,” Bandriwsky said.

For more information or to donate, go to

Mark Sommer covers preservation, development, waterfront, culture and more. He is also a former arts editor for The News.