Artists across the world are deeply concerned and troubled by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable attack on Ukraine, which began on February 24th. Canada was one of the first countries to recognize Ukraine’s independence and sovereign rights, and there are over 1.4 million Ukrainian-Canadians living here, many of whom are artists and cultural workers.
In addition to our concern for the people of Ukraine, there are understandably real fears about what this conflict means for all of us, worldwide. As Henri Matisse once said: “creativity takes courage”, and CARFAC stands in solidarity with all who are affected.
The international arts community have issued many statements of support and solidarity for our colleagues in Ukraine. The International Association of Art has declared their “unshakeable opposition to all wars”, and push for a peaceful resolution through diplomatic discussion rather than further bloodshed. CISAC, representing creators and authors across all artistic repertoires internationally, expressed their concern for colleagues and friends directly affected by these events.
In response to this situation, UNESCO is launching a pilot programme “supporting the continuation of artistic creation and access to cultural life in Ukraine” in partnership with MOCA NGO, the lead institution of the Ukrainian Emergency Art Fund (created in partnership with Zaborona media, The Naked Room and Mystetskyi Arsenal museum complex). Already endowed with $100,000 by UNESCO, it will provide grants to artists to support their creative work and ensure that the population continues to have access to culture. UNESCO and MOCA NGO will place particular emphasis on funding arts projects that contribute to building resilience in populations facing the trauma of war.
With La Biennale di Venezia still set to open on April 23rd, organizers confirmed their commitment to moving ahead as planned, while providing its “full support to the Ukrainian people and to its artists, and express its firm condemnation of the unacceptable military aggression by Russia”. They also confirmed their support for “all those in Russia who are courageously protesting against the war”, despite the great risk that may come with such actions.
Canadian artists are following the events of this humanitarian crisis as they unfold, and CARFAC offers our support and desire for a swift and peaceful conclusion. We know that concern alone is not enough, and many of our members may be feeling helpless.
For those that are able to help financially, the Government of Canada launched a fund with the Canadian Red Cross, for crisis relief. Donations will be matched dollar for dollar between February 24 and March 18. To make a donation, visit the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal online or call 1-800-418-1111. With the matching fund contribution, the Red Cross will support preparedness, immediate, and ongoing relief efforts, and other critical humanitarian activities as needs of people affected by the conflict in Ukraine arise, including support to populations that have been displaced.
Additionally, the National Bank of Ukraine has opened a special fundraising account to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and another fund for humanitarian assistance. Every dollar helps, so even if you’re not in a position to give, please share these links, and this list of registered charities providing relief.