As the Russian army moved forward and occupied Ukrainian territories in 2022, in many cases it destroyed not only people’s homes and critical infrastructure, but also the nation’s intangible assets and cultural heritage – with the blatantly declared purpose of destroying Ukrainian identity. Currently, the Ministry of Culture has registered 1271 cultural and historical sites that have been completely destroyed or partially damaged. In particular, Ukraine has nearly lost the collection of Maria Prymachenko’s artworks kept in Ivankivsky District Historical and Local History Museum (Kyiv Region). Fortunately, all 14 paintings were saved from the fire by locals, but this incident became a prerequisite for the project.
As a year of the full scale brutal war proved, the more harsh attempts the enemy takes to destroy everything Ukrainian, the more indestructible, viable and viral it becomes; the more intensively it spreads and grows, in the atmosphere of the world’s admiration and support. Ukrainian culture and essense don’t cease to exist after Russian missile attacks and physical destruction — because, just as the map is not the territory, the museum is not the walls. Art, its imprint in the nation’s consciousness and genome are not as easily destructible as someone would like it to be. Neither are Maria Primachenko’s fabled plots and realms — her unimaginable animals and plants left the walls of the destroyed local museum to walk into a bigger world. To fit in the aesthetics of modern European cities — in the form of monumental murals, guerilla street art, bright trendy clothes, amusing stickers and memes, stories and media articles.
And here is an obvious allegory at the heart of the project: Ukrainian spirit and temper are like these Prymachenko’s beasts — whimsical and incredible, and just as much kind and amusing, as wild and irrepressible. So, while the Russian army is unsuccessfully trying to “liberate” Ukraine from its identity and independence by destroying churches, monuments and museums, the “liberated ” Ukrainian beasts expand their habitat range wildly and worldwide. Because this is exactly what happens when one unleashes the beast. ; )
Maria Oksentiyivna Prymachenko (1909—1997) was a Ukrainian folk art painter, who worked in the naïve art style. A self-taught artist, she worked in painting, embroidery and ceramics.In 1966, Prymachenko was awarded the Taras Shevchenko National Prize of Ukraine. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared that 2009 was the year of Prymachenko. A street in Kyiv and a minor planet are both named after her. Pablo Picasso once said, after visiting a Prymachenko exhibition in Paris, “I bow down before the artistic miracle of this brilliant Ukrainian.”
Fundraising for Art Residence
War is not an excuse for not making plans. After our victory, the new Art Residence & Museum will be built in Bolotnya (Kyiv Region) by Maria Prymachenko Family Foundation. We can help and fundraise.
Turning a hospital into a gallery
This is how Ohmatdyt, the main children's clinic of the country, implements the art therapy programme. Fundraising for a series of Prymachenko murals is another campaign's goals.
Cultural Resistance Campaign
The whole world is now watching us in awe: "Ukrainians are real beasts!" Spreading Prymachenko beasts is a symbolic act of resistance: Ukrainian art and spirit are invulnerable and ubiquitous.
NGO Shum Rave is based in Slovyansk, Donetsk region and grew from a cultural initiative and a series of parties in the Donbass that arose as a protest against the lack of night and cultural life. The organization holds events for youth in war-affected East of Ukraine, promotes local artists and raises awareness regarding objects of cultural and architectural heritage that need to be cared for and preserved. Its mission is changing the perception of the region as depressive and uninteresting and writing the post-war Donbass into Ukraine's global cultural context.
Creative Beast is a creative and event production agency, based in Kyiv. The key specializations are concept development and creative and marketing communications; design and multiformat events — from conceptualization to organization.
Okhmatdit Children Hospital
NDSL Ohmatdit is a multidisciplinary diagnostic and treatment institution that provides specialized highly qualified medical care to the children population of Ukraine, created by Presidential Decree No. 494/96 on the basis of the Ukrainian Consultative Center for Mothers and Children of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the Kyiv Children's Scientific and Medical Association Ohmatdit. It’s the largest specialized children's hospital in Ukraine: every year, more than 20,000 children are treated in Ohmatdit, and about 28,000 receive emergency care in the trauma center of the hospital; More than 10,000 operations are performed. Another 65,000 patients receive consultations at the polyclinic. The hospital has more than 80 departments.
Since the beginning of the war, the hospital had become a hospital for both children and adults. Work in the conditions of martial law did not stop for a minute — even when there were active hostilities on the outskirts of Kyiv and shellings around the hospital. Bomb shelters were organized on the territory of Ohmatdit, where doctors continued to provide medical assistance to children. Psychologists also worked with patients. In the new building of the hospital, a department of emergency medical care for the wounded was organized. Thanks to volunteers, public organizations and benefactors, Ohmatdit could fully function. The clinic became a humanitarian hub, whose employees received, sorted and redirected humanitarian aid to other institutions. Ohmatdit’s doctors keep saving children's lives and protecting the country's medical front daily.
Maria Prymachenko Family Foundation
Maria Prymachenko Family Foundation was founded in 2018 by the artist's family. Its focus is the preservation and popularization of the cultural heritage of the Prymachenko family and protecting the copyright. The foundation organizes exhibitions in Ukraine and around the world, analyzes archives, and researches the heritage of the Prymachenko artistic dynasty, which also includes Ivan and Fyodor Prymachenko.
Through the popularization of the works of the Prymachenko family, the Foundation aims to contribute to a better understanding of Ukrainians' cultural identity and making the world fall in love with Ukrainian art. The foundation takes an active part in charity events in support of Ukrainian art and joins fundraising initiates for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Also, the Foundation's mission is creating a culture of competent legal approach to author's collections and works of art in Ukraine. It strives to set an example for artists and their heirs in the field of copyright protection.