The globally awarded Ukrainian designer Mykola Kovalenko decided to join the war against Russia. Not with real arms though, but with his art. Since the beginning of the conflict he has been making one anti-war poster per day. The most valuable are dropped as rare NFTs twice a week. Mykola further explained the symbolism concealed in his artworks.
“If you look at the history of armed conflicts, you immediately see symbols everywhere. The eastern front in WWII was a struggle between the swastika and the red star. Now the red star has turned into a symbol of oppression again”, says Mykola Kovalenko. “Even the particular color you use to create a shape tells a story”.
The Russian flag was a flag among many others. With the invasion of February 24, it has become the intruder's insignia. Mykola often incorporates flags into his posters - they are the most visible symbols of the two fighting states. But there is symbolism even within the symbols.
One of Mykola's posters contains the three stripes of the Russian flag. The red one is falling off. “Red colour in national flags often symbolizes blood shed in the struggle to build or defend the homeland. Now it represents the blood of Ukrainian defenders. I want the bloodshed to stop, therefore I decided to drop the red stripe.” In the meantime, the Russian flag with two white stripes replacing the red one has become a symbol of protests against the war.
Twisting and ridiculing Russian symbols is only a part of the job. Mykola mostly focuses on showing the strength and determination of the defenders. Once he depicted the Ukrainian coat of arms, which is dominated by a trident. Although being a quite intimidating symbol itself, Mykola decided to sharpen things up and designed the trident with knife-like edges.
One of the most iconic Mykola's posters is the one featuring a flower shaped like a fist. It both symbolizes the abundant flowery meadows of Ukraine, but also the fierceness of the Ukrainians. “Don't get fooled by the peace, warmth and accessibility of the Ukrainians lands. Many invading nations found their death there.” warns Mykola.
The NFTs are part of a global fundraising campaign “BLOCK war with ART. Start a CHAIN” with Mykola's posters are available for purchase on OpenSea. Every Monday and Thursday a rare NFT drop is scheduled. 80% of the generated money will be used to support Ukrainians in need.
The campaign was launched with the support of Mykola's home agency International Effectivity.