The Museum of Russian Icons presents Artists for Ukraine: Transforming Ammo Boxes into Icons, November 3, 2022 – February 13, 2023, an installation dramatically showcasing three Ukrainian icons painted on the boards of ammunition boxes by Oleksandr Klymenko and Sofia Atlantova, a husband-wife artistic team from Kyiv, Ukraine.
The project “Buy an Icon—Save a Life” was developed in response to the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine, when Klymenko encountered empty wooden ammunition boxes from combat zones and noted their resemblance to icon boards (doski). By repurposing the panels, the project strives, in the artist’s words, to “transform death (symbolized by ammo boxes) into life (traditionally symbolized by icons in Ukrainian culture). The goal, this victory of life over death, happens not only on the figurative and symbolic level but also in reality through these icons on ammo boxes.”
Exhibitions of the ammo box icons have been staged throughout Europe and North America to raise awareness of the ongoing war in Ukraine. In addition, sales have provided substantial funds to support the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital, the largest nongovernmental undertaking to provide medical assistance to the Donbas region. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 strengthened the resolve of Atlantova and Klymenko to continue painting icons on boards taken back from the frontlines. To date, the project has raised more than $300,000.
A goal of the installation will be to help raise monies for the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Sofia Atlantova (b.1981, Kyiv) is an artist and a writer who studied at the Kyiv Shevchenko State Art School and the National Academy of Art and Architecture. Atlantova works in the field of monumental and easel art, book illustration, and installation art. She is a participant in a number of exhibitions in Ukraine and abroad.
Oleksandr Klymenko (b 1976, Kyiv) is an artist and art critic, a writer (under the pseudonym of Olaf Clemensen), and a member of the Ukrainian Union of Artists. He graduated from the National Academy of Art and Architecture in 1998 and completed a postgraduate course at the Rylsky Institute of Art History, Folklore, and Ethnography in 2002. Klymenko has worked as a teacher at the Kyiv Boychuk State Institute of Decorative and Applied Arts and Design and at the High Humanitarian and Theological Courses in Kyiv. Klymenko works in the field of monumental and easel arts. He has participated in exhibitions in Ukraine and abroad, and organized many literary and art actions and performances.
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Franklin Sciacca, Professor Emeritus of Russian Language and Literature at Hamilton College in NY., has lectured extensively on Russian Orthodox iconography and East Slavic folklore. He has contributed articles to Slavic Review, Nabokov Almanac, Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, and Journal of the Slavic, East European and Eurasian Folklore Association. His ongoing research interests include the history of Pochayiv Monastery and the ritual function of textiles in Ukrainian folkways.
Sciacca, whose grandmother emigrated to the U.S. from Bazaliya, Ukraine, earned his doctorate and master's from Columbia University. In 2018, he curated Rushnyky: Sacred Ukrainian Textiles at the Museum of Russian Icons, an exhibition celebrating and exploring Ukrainian culture through one of its most ancient and valued traditions.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM
The Museum of Russian Icons preserves and exhibits one of the world’s largest collections of Orthodox Christian icons, bronze crosses, and Slavic folk arts. Spanning over six centuries, the collection showcases the development of the icon from its Egyptian and Byzantine roots and explores the spread of Orthodoxy across cultures.
The Museum serves as a leading center for research and scholarship through the Center for Icon Studies and other institutional collaborations. It is the only Museum in the US dedicated to Russian icons and the most extensive collection of icons outside of Russia.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10am-4pm. Closed Monday–Wednesday.
Admission: Adults $12, seniors (59+) $10, Students $5, Children (13-17) $5, Children under 13 Free.
Visit the website, www.museumofrussianicons.org, home of the Online Collection (including research papers on individual icons), a virtual tour of the Museum, the Journal of Icon Studies, and the British Museum’s Catalogue of Byzantine and Greek Icons.
Museum of Russian Icons
203 Union Street
About Museum of Russian Icons
The Museum of Russian Icons inspires the appreciation and study of Russian culture by collecting and exhibiting icons and related objects; igniting the interest of national and international audiences; and offering interactive educational programs. The Museum serves as a leading center for research and scholarship through the Center for Icon Studies and other institutional collaborations. It is the only museum in the US dedicated to Russian icons, and it is the largest collection of icons outside of Russia. Museum hours: Tue. - Fri., 11AM to 4PM, first Thurs of the month to 8PM, Saturday and Sunday 11AM to 5PM, closed Mondays. Admission: Adults $10, seniors (59+) $7, Students $5, Children (3-7) $5, Children under 3 Free. For more information please visit museumofrussianicons.org.