Street Art of the capital of Ukraine
Recently, Kiev has turned into a kind of museum of a new cultural trend – murals.
We traveled around the city and will now tell you (and show) murals that became an integral part of the metropolis in a fairly short time. This type of creativity develops with fantastic speed and even now, during the preparation of this article, new exhibits are being drawn. We will take the liberty to acquaint you with the majority of Kiev’s murals, which have become one more reason to love this city.
Famous Ukrainian Street Art
Let’s start with the heart of Kiev – Mikhailovska Square. In the summer of 2015, the portrait of Sergei Nigoyan, the hero of Heavenly Hundred appeared on the wall of one of the houses on Mikhailovska Street in Kiev. The wall with a picture faces the Park of Heavenly Hundred.
Sergei Nigoyan, Ukrainian of Armenian origin was the first victim on Grushevsky Street during the armed confrontation on January 22, 2014.
Later, Sergei, like other victims of the Revolution of Dignity became known as one of “Heavenly Hundred”. The author of graffiti is the artist Alexander Farto from Lisbon (Portugal), known under the pseudonym Vhils. The artist’s works are not just drawings. As a “canvas”, he chooses old houses, on which the stucco has remained. To create paintings, he uses not paint, but real building tools: drill, chisel and hammer. With their help, he removes a layer of old plaster, exposing a bricklaying. His work can be found in London, Lisbon and New York. There is a work of Alexander Farto in Moscow, where on one of the houses he painted a portrait of Hermann Hesse, German writer. In addition to graffiti with the hero of Heavenly Hundred Sergei Nigoyan, there is also art corner with unusual portraits of Taras Shevchenko in the Park of Heavenly Hundred on Mikhailovska Street.
Another mural called “A glance into the future” decorates the front side of a residential 5-storey building on the corner of Bolshaya Zhytomyrska and Vladimirska streets.
On November 16, 2015, artist from Catalonia, namely from Barcelona, working under the pseudonym Aryz completed his work (his autograph is in the right lower corner). The works of Aryz are distinguished by bright colors and plots marked by combination of roughness and sophistication. Art objects he created can be found on buildings in Spain, Italy, France, Poland, Thailand, etc.
Using his very special graphic manner, Aryz portrayed a swarthy man in unbuttoned shirt holding a stick resembling a flagpole on the epic Kiev drawing. The hero is resolutely looking into the future. The content of the mural can be explained by the fact that it was created during the period of the patriotic boom in our country.
When creating a monumental image, the artist had a conflict with a nun who approached the Spaniard and tossed the paint buckets, probably thus showing discontent with his work. However, later the conflict was settled.
24B Bolshaya Zhytomyrska Street. The facade of the house is decorated with a bright picture with themes of Bible. Against the background of the blue sky and white clouds, angels fly. Local residents say that they were tired of looking at the gray peeling wall, and they asked artists to decorate their house with unusual drawing. They did it very well!
In addition, very close to the previous mural, on 38 Bolshaya Zhytomyrska Street, Vladimir Manzhos and Alexei Bordusov, famous duo of Ukrainian artists called Interesni Kazki created Kiev mural “Saint Georg”.
Earlier there was another drawing on this wall; it was the advertising drawing of one of the beer companies. Destruction of the old drawing was performed on the order of the head of the Shevchenkivska regional administration and has caused discussions among social networks users of the capital. Discussions continued even when Interesni Kazki finished their work.
“The drawing on this wall was not my personal choice and not due to desire to cover with paint the previous one; this surface was allocated by the Shevchenko administration after the expiration of the advertising campaign that was on this wall before,” one from artists explained the choice of the wall for Saint George painting.
The work was carried out under the influence of such events as the annexation of the Crimea and the war with Russia in the Donbas. “I literally quote one of the comments:” We cut the paws that stretch towards our land,” Alexei says. “A turning point in the history of Ukraine is not just one of the reasons to make this mural, but rather my duty.” “I wanted to help the country, but I’m not a warrior, but an artist. And it was at this time and under such circumstances that I understood what the Ukrainian artist exists for,” Vladimir agreed.
Mural is located in Desyatinny Lane, near the Landscape Alley, the National Museum of the History of Ukraine and the remains of the foundation of the Church of the Tithes. The author of street art is Franco Fasoli, the artist from Argentina. In the process of mural creation, there were numerous disputes over its relevance in the historical heart of Kiev. Konstantin Skrututsky, the author of many sculptures on the Landscape avenue reported that there were other plans for this wall: there was a ready project for decorating this wall with a mosaic depiction of the Church of the Tithes. However, despite the indignation of the activists, the mural was completed. It is performed in the style of Mexican mythology. The figure depicts a man with an eagle’s head, holding a Ukrainian flag in his hands.
Mural depicting Ukrainian athlete and rhythmic gymnast Anna Rizatdinova is located at the intersection of Streletska and Sretenska streets, not far from the Golden Gate. Its author is Fintan Magee, Australian street art artist. The creative artist is known for his works not only in Australia. His street paintings can be seen around the world – in England, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Colombia, Russia and other countries. Often in his work, the artist raises social problems, problems of environmental pollution, immigration, climate change, etc. Fintan Magee also paid attention to the capital of Ukraine. Here, in addition to mural with the Ukrainian athlete, he has created two more large-scale works – a fresco with a deer on the wall of the Sanitary and Epidemiological Service in Podol and mural “Climate Change” on Gusovsky Street in Pechersk.
Anna Rizatdinova was born in Crimea in 1993; she is Ukrainian rhythmic gymnast, bronze medalist of the 2016 Olympic Games in individual all-around, world champion in exercises with a hoop (2013), multiple prizewinner of world and Europe championships, other international competitions.
Mural, dedicated to the Ukrainian poet Lesya Ukrainka, is located not far from the Golden Gate, on Streletska Street. It was created by Guido Van Helten, Australian street artist. Mural covers the entire end wall of a seven-story building. In the picture, young Lesya Ukrainka wearing embroidery is thoughtfully looking into the distance. The picture is decorated with a branch of lilies of the valley. It was the poem “Lilies of the valley” about the lady and a torn flower, written by a poetess in 1884, that inspired the artist to create the picture. According to Guido Van Helten, he learned about Lesya Ukrainka from his friends and decided to connect the story of the lily-of-the-valley with the image on the wall.
Mural on Dmitrievska Street was painted by Rustam Salemgaraev, Russian street artist from Kazan, known as Rustam QBic. The wall drawing was created in the framework of the project Art United Us, devoted to the theme of war, aggression and propaganda. The artist completed his work at the end of March 2016. On the facade of the building, the author portrayed a traveler looking for a way out of the labyrinth. The figure symbolizes the world and shows life as a labyrinth of solutions. This shows how each of us decides these or other tasks, and is looking for a way out of the labyrinth of problems.
On April 2, 2016, the mural was highly praised by online edition StreetArtNews, which specializes in street art and graffiti; it was given the 4th place in the world best murals list. On April 19, the religious community located nearby demanded to cover the drawing with paint.
Mural with crows on the wall of a residential building along Reitarska Street is the work of the artist Alexander Brittsev from Kharkov. The drawing is called “The Messenger of Life”. It should be noted that the drawing with black birds is located in the yard, where one can find the famous aviary with crows (Cyril, Carlos and Corbin; Carlos died in 2016). This Kiev courtyard has long become a local landmark; it is often visited by both the people of Kiev and guests the capital. On the canvas among a variety of black crows, one white crow stands out as a bright spot. According to the artist, “the white crow is a symbol of good news and the birth of a new life. There are also black crows, who are among the wisest birds on Earth.”
Mural with Mikhail Hrushevsky appeared on the wall of the building along 75 Sichovykh Streltsov Street (formerly Artem Street) in November 2015. Street art was painted on top of another work – “The future is being built today” which was an advertisement for a construction company. Mikhail Hrushevsky is politician, revolutionary, historian, author of the famous ten-volume monograph “History of Ukraine-Rus”. The portrait of Mikhail Hrushevsky was created by the artists of the creative collective “Kailas-V”.
Mural with a titmouse appeared in Kiev in May 2016 as part of the anti-war project Art United Us. The work was called “Freedom”. The wall painting is on the end wall of a residential building and is three floors high. The picture shows a tit, which hangs upside down, holding the bulb with its paw. Alex Maksiov, Ukrainian artist is the author of the street drawing. This is not the first work of the artist that contains the image of a bird.
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