Street Artist Guido Van Helten paints on the Frontline, Avdiyivka, Ukraine 2016

Art United Us have been painting in Kiev non-stop since March, promoting peace through street art projects curated by Geo Leros, Iryna Kanishcheva and Waone Interesni Kazki. With the help of Australian street artist Guido Van Helten they have just wrapped up 2016 with the most significant mural yet.

Australian artist Guido van Helten has just completed a large-scale mural in Avdiyivka, an eastern Ukrainian town in ATO territory (anti-terrorist operation zone), first front line.

In Mid-April 2014 pro-Russian separatists captured several towns in Donetsk Oblast including Avdiyivka. In July 2014, Ukrainian forces reportedly secured the city from separatists. Ukrainian forces kept control of Avdiyivka, which became a frontline city and is frequently shelled. According to the OSCE the area between Avdiyivka and neighbouring separatist controlled Yasynuvata is one of the hotspots of the War in Donbass, that has killed more than 9,600 people.

Even though the frontline city is frequently being shelled people still remain and live amongst the conflict.
Guido van Helten visited a local school to photograph 73-year-old teacher Marina Marchenko, whom he chose because of the kindness he saw in her eyes from a photograph.

Guido spent two days in Avdiyivka painting the photorealistic mural with Photographer Anton Kuleba and Journalist Amos Chaple (read his photo blog here).

While working, they heard hundreds of shots every day. The signs of bullets can be seen on the building where they were painting. Bullet proof vests and helmits were worn by the artist and photographers.

“There was fighting on both days we were there. It started in the afternoon (when the OSCE observers leave for the day). There was mortar rounds and some machine gun fire”  Amos Chapple

“This work reflects the main goal of the project: to attract attention to the problem of war and violence” Iryna Kanishcheva


Another great project organised by Art United Us. Check back at a later date for more street art news from Kiev…



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