Online Art Auction for Ukraine to culminate with event at Jamesport Meeting House


Ukrainian artists Sonia Atlantava and Olexander Klimenko have been using the unlikely material of wood from war-torn ammunition boxes as canvases for their works since 2015, when they launched their concept project, Icons on Ammunition Boxes.

Since Russia declared war on Ukraine at the end of February, their work remains more relevant than ever. Black and white project spacethe nonprofit arts organization, will be sponsoring an online auction culminating in an event on August 25 from 5-7 p.m. at the historic Jamesport Meeting House.

The the auction is currently online here. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital (PFVMH), a non-governmental organization established in 2014 that provides medical care on the frontline of war in Ukraine. It is made up of volunteer civilian health professionals. According to its website, since 2014, its mobile volunteer hospital had treated around 50,000 patients.

The icons depict images such as Madonna and Child, painted by Mr Klimenko, on a wooden box of AKM assault rifle cartridges left behind by Russian soldiers on a battlefield near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, according to the description of the image on the auction site. The minimum bid for this coin starts at $2,200.

“I saw what they were doing, those amazing icons on ammo crates [and] really been really excited about this project and the concept of how art can really transform people’s lives and can really, as they say, turn death into life,” said Tatyana Okshteyn, Founder of Black and White Project Space and Gallery, currently in Southampton.

Both artists are in Ukraine and cannot attend. According to a statement by the artists on the website, members of the military and medical volunteers bring these empty ammunition boxes from battlefields. The press release specifies that the artists consider these people as “full participants in our project, a kind of co-authors”.

The statement also includes the artist’s explanation of the deeper meaning of the artwork made on such a particular medium.

“Military ammunition boxes visually resemble coffins. Moreover, these boxes usually look like coffins, stored deep underground in warehouses and military arsenals,” the statement said. “The war begins and, like in a Hollywood horror movie, these coffins appear in the world of God, death springs from them, destroying everything in its path. But the last chapter of its destructive journey is written by the artist when cartridges carrying death begin to radiate life… One of the central metaphors of our project is that military ammunition boxes after the battle find new life, acquire a new function, become icons – symbols of the victory of life over death,” the statement read.

According to the auction website, the icons on the ammunition boxes have been displayed in the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, the parliaments of Ukraine and Lithuania, Poland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, in Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, Canada and the United States since 2015. , the Icons on Ammunition Boxes project has raised over $450,000 for the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital.

There will be 18 icons on display in Jamesport that will be shipped from Ukraine. Bidding starts at $2,200 up to $5,000 on the online auction.

James Farley of the Riverhead Rotary Club helped organize the event at Jamesport Meeting House. He said they were hoping to raise around $40-50,000 or more, if possible.

“I just think it’s a good cause,” Mr. Farley said. “I think [the] The situation in Ukraine is a terrible situation and I think the country needs support to resolve things in its favor.


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