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UKRAINE FUNDRAISER

LIMITED EDITION PRINTS

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Sunflower
22x30
Watercolor
Andrew M. Kish III

 

The Art Warrior Project is proud to announce a Limited Edition Print & Postcard offering to help raise money and awareness for the atrocities associated with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. With each print sold, we will donate 50% of the print sales directly to Ukrainian families to offset the immense hardships associated with war. Our hope is that this watercolor painting will stand as a visual representation, that depicts the courageous spirit of the Ukrainian people, as they stand and fight against the terror and aggression besieged by the Russian government. As the sunflower emerges from the barrel of the assault rifle, so too does the heart of humanity rise from the ashes and rubble of hatred. Please join us in standing up to the evil that oppresses our lives and continues to plunge our world into darkness. Together we will rise to face the day even after the darkest night, and when the sun seems hard to find, we can turn to face one another and be each others light.

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The Making of Sunflower 

In late February as the rumored invasion of Ukraine suddenly became a reality, I found myself searching for a way to help and contribute, as an artist, to those directly impacted by this senseless war. Due to the fact that my wife immigrated with her family to America from Poland at the age of 7, many of her relatives and extended family still live in Poland and the neighboring country of Ukraine. 

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As you can imagine, we have been getting harrowing reports that range from the chaotic and heart-wrenching scenes at the Polish border, where thousands of women and children are escaping daily bombardments, to the terrifying stories of the atrocities happening everyday on the streets of Ukraine. 

Almost instantly, my wife Asha and her family jumped to action to raise money to fund relief efforts for those displaced and homeless as they escaped into Poland. Headed by my wife's sister Oksana we have been able to raise thousands of dollars that are directly helping the refugee's with transportation, food, housing, and supplies to bring meager comfort and stability during this horrific time. 

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This is how Sunflower was Born

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Inspiration can come from many places. It can sprout up from the joyous emotions of love and kindness, or it can depict the true realities of pain and fear that live just below the surface. Regardless of it's origin, I believe it has the power to reveal the heart of the human experience and give us a window into our collective soul.

 

During the early days of the Russian invasion, Artists all over the world began painting sunflowers to show support for the people of Ukraine. Each image would stand as a symbol of hope and a reminder that the world, as a unified society, stands in solidarity against tyranny and violence. This is when the idea was born! I wanted to present my sunflower painting as a symbol of power and protest that combats the ruthlessness and terror of war. I wanted it to not just be a beautiful rendering, but a reminder that life and hope prevail! That we can make a stand to protect Love and Kindness! So I put my other projects on hold and got straight to work on creating this new idea with the hopes that I could use it to raise funds and awareness for the people of Ukraine to directly help and contribute to the war relief with my skills.

 

After a few designs I finally settled on an image. The concept of this piece is a direct reference to the iconic images of the 1960's Vietnam protestors who, armed with signs and flowers, stood down military police and daringly placed flowers in the barrels of the weapons drawn to suppress Anti-War sentiment in the USA. 

"I wanted to highlight the dichotomy between nature and machine as a metaphor for love and hate, or fear and hope."

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I chose to represent the flower emerging, or plunged into, the barrel of an assualt rifle as a signifier that the weapon has been compromised and rendered ineffective.  In reality this may not be true, but as an image it succeeded in telling this story. I wanted to highlight the dichotomy between nature and machine as a metaphor for love and hate, or fear and hope. The imagery of the sunflower was an obvious choice as it is the national flower of Ukraine, adversely choosing to paint the AK-47 was equally significant. I wanted to represent a modern weapon that would undeniably be seen in the hands of soldiers on the battlefield and harken back to the days of the Soviet Army and WWII. I hauntingly remember hearing a quote from a friend stating that "other than the mosquito, nothing is responsible for more human death than the Kalashnikov AK-47." Whether the statement is true or false is irrelevant, but the sentiment of that idea however, has always stuck with me.

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Creating artwork can be such a cathartic practice if you allow yourself to transcend the physical nature of adding pigment to paper and focus instead on the contemplative, almost meditative, quality that it possess. As I brought this piece to life, I was able to reluctantly find a place of respite away from the helpless feeling associated with each headlines and news bulletin, designed to propagate fear, as they raced across our screens. I found solace in the idea that maybe even I could make a small difference with this painting. Maybe it could stand as a beacon for others to get behind and echo it's proclamation, that hope and love will prevail. This piece offered so much enjoyment for the shear complexity of materials that I love to paint so much. I allowed myself to get lost in the subtle details and the process of creating visual textures that make my watercolor work stand out from my contemporaries. This painting is truly a representation of me and my response to the current events transpiring thousands of miles away. 

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Although this journey of creating "Sunflower" has already been such a rewarding project, it's real impact has yet to be fully realized. From its origin it was designed as a way for me to give back to the many people looking to find ways to help get valuable resources to the frontlines of the invasion in Ukraine. To send money and resources to continually help families who have been displaced or worse due to the reckless military actions of the Russian Government.  I'm calling on all the Art Warriors out there to help make this project a success, and to join with me in combining our efforts to help people in need. 50% of each print order and 100% of each postcard order will go directly to our Ukrainian neighbors in need of assistance. If you are not able to help financially, please share this project on social media and with anyone looking to help make a difference. The more support we receive the greater the impact we will have. Remember, evil only prevails when good people do nothing. Let us stand tall together and be the light in the Darkness!

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Limited Edition Print
Sunflower
11x14