Jake Aikman Paints his First Street Art Mural in Kiev for Art United Us, Ukraine 2017

ArtUnitedUs 2017, curated by Iryna Kanishcheva and Geo Leros, are well underway in the second season of street art murals to promote peace across Ukraine, creating an entirely new history. For the third mural in the second season ArtUnitedUs invited Londoner Jake Aikman, who currently lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.

Studio based painter Jake Aikman paints to capture the mystery and ambiguity of an isolated moment. Jake paints images of the sea, remote coastlines and dense forests, where it may feel calm on the surface … but what lies beneath! The new and impressive mural ‘Black Sea’ was Jakes first attempt at a wall!

“I didn’t know much about Kyiv and the Ukraine before I arrived, but I knew I wanted to bring the drama of the sea to the city. This was my first attempt at a mural, and previously my largest painting had been a 2m x 4m canvas. I approached it in same way as my studio based paintings.” Jake Aikman

“The early stages of a work are rarely aesthetically pleasing, and for the first time in my career I was subjected to public scrutiny of what has always been a very private experience. It was thrilling to watch and engage with people’s reactions as the painting developed from rough sketch to an illusory, yet still painterly seascape.” Jake Aikman

“Human vulnerability and awe in relation to the sea has interested me long before I picked up a brush to paint it. In my opinion the sea reminds us that we are not in control of the forces of nature, and linked to that reminder are the trials and tribulations of the individual’s (viewer) life. My goal is to get under the skin or behind the veil of the purely visual experience of the image. Ultimately my wish is for the viewer to engage with what lies beneath the surface within themselves. I hope with this mural I’ve managed to achieve that to some extent.” Jake Aikman

“It was an experience I’d very much like to revisit, and I thank Art United Us and the people of Kyiv for hosting me.” Jake Aikman


ArtUnitedUs is not just about producing a series of murals, but instead, creating an entirely new history. Art has been used as a great weapon throughout history, this initiative is current and promoting peace, and in the worlds of Art United Us… save the world.



Photo Credit Iryna Kanishcheva




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