Many worldwide organisations, local businesses, and people are looking for personal ways to demonstrate support for Ukraine as it fights for peace in the midst of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Cleveland artist Derek Hess, like so many others, is speaking out against the strife in the only way he knows how: via his art.
“What I can bring to the table as an artist is something that can help you not feel as helpless as so many of us do,” Hess adds.
Hess, a painter and printmaker best known for his concert posters and pieces about mental health, released “Kyiv – Castle Keep” earlier this month. A sitting guy holds aloft the Ukrainian flag in this beautiful picture. Hess portrays Kyiv as Ukraine’s “castle keep” in this scenario. The term “castle keep” comes from medieval times and refers to the castle’s strongest fortification — the last line of defence during a siege.
“This piece is about the people of Ukraine’s tenacity in the face of enormously unfair circumstances,” Hess explains.
All proceeds will be split among four groups assisting Ukraine: the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the United Nations Children’s Fund, World Central Kitchen, and the Government of Ukraine.
Despite his general aversion to politically oriented artwork, this war was a situation he couldn’t ignore.
“Normally, I avoid having political pieces because they completely date the artwork at the time.” It doesn’t give it legs to continue the picture,” Hess says, vowing to make more art in favour of Ukraine. “As far as I’m concerned, making a political piece and putting it out there at this time is a must.”
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