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ArtRich 2023 - "Cry for Ukraine"

Olena Krevenets

Nov 24, 2023

Richmond art Gallery

"Cry for Ukraine"

In the middle of tough times, worries, and the heaviness of my country's troubles, I, Olena Krevenets, an artist from Ukraine living in Richmond, BC, Canada, started a special art project. With the help of my team, we created a strong message of strength and togetherness called "Cry for Ukraine!" This is a part of a big series of artworks that show how Ukraine is facing the scary parts of war but still hopes for a better future.

All these projects together make up my way of speaking to the world. I want everyone to hear that Ukraine really needs help and support from all over the world. Even when things are tough, these photos show the strong spirit, culture, and togetherness of Ukraine. Through art, I'm saying loud and clear: Ukraine's call for hope and unity must be heard, and its people need strong support.

This story started a long time ago, in 2014, when Ukraine chose its way to democratic values and stood against the autocratic regime of Yanukovych, which was backed by russian leaders. As revenge, putin decided to attack Ukraine and russian soldiers landed on our soil, meaningly occupied the Crimea peninsula and the Donbas region. 

At that time Ukraine was not ready to protect its own territories, because its army was demoralized and people were exhausted after a few years of struggle with Yanukovych. 

But 8 years later, when Russia launched a full scale  invasion Ukrainian people stood and bravely defended the Motherland. 

Before starting the "Cry for Ukraine" project, I did a lot of research and got back in touch with our traditional clothing and costumes. These things were mixed with deep feelings about the sad news. I started planning these photo shoots just one week after Russia attacked Ukraine and a full scale invasion began. 

As the director of these photo shoots, I want to thank my teams, mostly made up of Ukrainians and two Canadian photographers. They were a huge help during a tough time, and together, we used our strong feelings, like anger and frustration, to make meaningful art.

For many Ukrainians, work was like a strong anchor during the strange and tough times. Even though I had doubts about doing art when my country was at war, I worked with confidence and bravery. People in Ukraine were sad about losing loved ones and their homes, but living a normal life in Canada made me feel guilty.

Despite my personal struggles, like anxiety and tough choices, these projects happened. I used lots of symbols and special Ukrainian traditions that I learned as a kid to bring back happy memories of home. These traditions are important but are at risk now.

These projects are like a big statement, a voice that I want to share with the world. I'm shouting out that Ukraine really needs help. Please, stand with Ukrainians and keep supporting them.

♥️ Production team “Cry for Ukraine”:

Photographer - Dave Worden

Models - baby Mia Gryn, Sofi Manko

MUA - Diana Zhyliaeva

Idea, costumes, set design - Olena Krevenets

Assistants: Danya Smychenko, Max Gryn, Yana Veklych 

The Richmond Arts Coalition (RAC), in partnership with the Richmond Art Gallery, is pleased to present the fifth edition of ArtRich. This dynamic juried exhibition features fifty emerging and established artists from Richmond, the Lower Mainland, and nearby communities to exhibit together and celebrate local talent. Showcasing a diverse range of artists engaging with an eclectic array of styles and subject matter, this fifth edition of ArtRich offers a remarkable view into the art scene of the City of Richmond and its environs.

The Richmond Arts Coalition is a voice for artists and the arts in Richmond. A volunteer-led organization, RAC offers opportunities for artists and the arts within Richmond; informs artists and assists with innovative ideas; connects artists, businesses, and audiences; and engages and advocates for the arts community.

Richmond Art Gallery thanks Andrew Wade, Executive Director, RAC, and ArtRich 2023’s external jurors Courtney Miller, Curator & Gallery Manager, ACT Arts Centre and Miret Rodriguez, Director/Co-Founder, Curated Tastes.

ArtRich 2023

Richmond Art Gallery

(in the Richmond Cultural Centre)

7700 Minoru Gate

Richmond, BC

Opening Reception: November 24, 6pm-9pm

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