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Art in the face of tragedy and war: ART AID UKRAINE – Bran Symondson 

Healing wounds of conflict on a national level will take decades. The remnants and scars of the first two World Wars still feel tender to the touch. The wounds inflicted even further than the 20th century still keloid over us. The thing about great conflict and tragedy is that it’s almost always followed by a re-emergence of hope often through human expression. Life imitating art. What’s undeniable is the profound effect unity, through art can encourage, on both the individual and the collective. A prime example is the boom of Jazz, Art Deco and fashion post WW1. Tried and tested, through great hardship and pain, healing can be cultured through progressive unity and expressive mediums.

In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the humanitarian initiative Art Aid Ukraine, curated an auction featuring work by acclaimed artists, photographers and ceramicists with all proceeds from sales going to Ukrainian hospitals, Relief Aid and Ukrainian Charity. Artist Bran Symondson’s contribution to the undertaking is a piece which pays homage to the Ukrainian flag whilst utilising his iconic exotic Lapis hued Morpho and flaxen Phoebis butterflies. The Piece is consistent with his previous embellished AK47 and then given a further layer of significance. Symondson guts the magazine to create a frame for the blown glass bullets which are then loaded with often precious and sometimes graphic fillings which express the narrative of the pieces. In this case, the bullets contain Origami white Doves, Rose Quartz and Citrine crystals. Yellow Sunflower Petals - being the national flower of the Ukraine and Blood, Oil and Earth represent the age-old dispute over land. The foremost significance of this is the origin of the weapon - Russia. The dichotomy is startling, a weapon that has such an intrinsic role in the Russian Invasion is deftly engulfed by wings of delicate butterflies. It’s almost as disarming as the role art plays in the face of tragedy.