Power of art during war in Ukraine: “Our Fire is Stronger Than Your Bombs”
By Kathryn Williams ’24
June 05, 2023
*Please note: This article is a student blog written by a Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassador. The Ambassador Program is a unique opportunity for Saint Anselm College students of any major to be involved in supporting the Institute's various events and activities. To learn more about our student ambassadors please visit the NHIOP website.
On May 1, 2023, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College was proud to host “Our Fire is Stronger Than Your Bombs,” an art exhibit showcasing the work of illustrators in Ukraine depicting their experience during the ongoing Russian invasion.
Lada Kolomiyers, Veronika Yadukha, and Hanna Leliv, scholars and translators from Dartmouth College, walked the audience through the stories of the artwork and its significance.
Two artists featured in this exhibit, Jenya Polosina and Anna Ivanenko, joined the conversation via Zoom all the way from Ukraine. “We began to document through small comics from the first day… Illustrations and drawings became a coping mechanism,” said Polosina. Both were artists who often explored different subjects and styles, but the invasion quickly became their new focus. “I used to like abstract art but that is not going to happen until the victory,” said Ivanenko.
Ukrainian illustrators have come together to use their skills for two purposes. For the people in Ukraine, Polosina explained how they try “to cheer people and reflect on things that can help get people through.” For those outside of Ukraine, she hopes that the artwork can be informative and touch hearts. “We are showing that they are real people and artists, it becomes more personal,” she said.
Also included in this event were readings of poetry with musical accompaniment by the College’s Dana Center Director Joe Deleault and Don Davis. The poems were written by five contemporary poets in Ukraine, comprised of three female authors and two men currently serving in the Ukrainian army. The powerful words read along with the instrumentals created an emotional depiction of the suffering and turmoil in Ukraine.
As mentioned, the event eventually took place on May 1, which marked the eighth anniversary of Greg Grappone’s passing. Bouchard explained how this event was aligned with Grappone's core values. “He believed discourse, art, and humanities are stronger than any violence,” said Bouchard.