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Practical Help In Crisis - Ukraine



Most people don't think there would be a direct connection between artists and practical activism. Sure, they understand that art reflects causes and positions, documents events, and tells stories. But most people don't understand the strong history of artists engaged in activism that has helped changed the course of history. By no means is this a comprehensive explanation, and I would definitely encourage you to go down that rabbit hole, but I want to hop, skip and jump over some examples.


If you're familiar with Hamilton (seriously - is anyone unfamiliar with Hamilton? ) you may have heard the lyrics of Hercules Mulligan introducing himself:

"A tailor spyin’ on the British government / I take their measurements, information and then I smuggle it."

As a tailor, he was sought to make clothing for lots of people including loyalists who sided with Britain and the British commanders. And he chatted them up, with drinks if that was warranted. Some sources just say he "sent the messages in packages of clothing," but the typical way that fiber artists have sent messages in times where there's reason to be concerned about someone finding out, is to secret them into the hem of a garment. The recipient knows where to look, but there is nothing concerning if an enemy opens the package.


Women over the ages wove codes into textiles, preserved iconic symbols in projects that would only be noticed by the target audience, and when Russia invaded Ukraine, we got to work again.


I wish I knew who came up with the idea so that I could credit them, but if you go to Etsy, there are ways to search for things by country. So we did - we limited the search to Ukraine and we bought patterns. Downloadable items that required nothing from the artist. And we got money directly to the creators in Ukraine so that they could have a little help.


There have been so many clever ways that people have found to get information and money into the places they need to go - including leaving reviews of Russian businesses on Yelp that included real updates about how things were going for the Russian forces.


I've also seen people donate profits from sales of art, hold auctions of their art to fundraise for Ukraine, create pieces that raise awareness of what is going on, and so much more. We may be expressing ourselves in a very different way from the soldier - but we find our places, take our stands, and do what we can to help.


So I've added the image that states where my heart is in this horrible situation. I support those who were invaded. I support those who did not choose this war. I support those who are fighting to protect their home and family. I also want to say, I have great compassion for those who are suffering in Russia and in the battles that they didn't willingly join. So much damage, so much trauma, so much pain.


I also know that when this is over there will be so much expressed in art that communicates the history, the experience, and the processing that can only take place once it's safe. I look forward to that.

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