Art can be a very meditative process and a way of looking more closely at something. This month in the free Sparketh Community, we are asking young artists to consider “peace” as an art prompt. Specifically, we want to show appreciation for some of the beautiful things about the Ukrainian culture, as we collectively hope for peace there. Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing some things that we love about the Ukraine, as well some things that peace means to us.
We’re inviting students to participate.
We are inviting all student artists (18 and under) to create and share artwork that reflects peace and/or that supports peace in Ukraine. Since we are a community for kid and teen artists, we encourage students to learn a little bit about Ukrainian life and culture and discover some of the beautiful things about it. The focus with this month’s prompt isn’t war, but peace. Instead of war-torn images, we want to promote images of peace, hope, and good things about this nation to honor and preserve.
If you would like to submit your work in our free virtual community, you’ll just need to join (with this link) and follow the instructions for this month’s challenge once you are approved. Our host (art instructor, Becca) will be there to greet you and answer any questions you have.
Learn more about Ukraine and its culture.
In this blog post, I’m sharing a few special things about Ukraine’s vibrant, creative culture. We hope to give kids and teens a chance to reflect upon the situation in the Ukraine in a hopeful way–a way that supports peace and focuses on beautiful things that deserve protection. We think its important for young people to feel connected to the larger world and to have the opportunity to find their creative voice about things that matter.
Below, you’ll find some resources and information about Ukraine to inspire you to create your own art for the Peace for Ukraine art challenge in the Sparketh Community. We hope you’ll join us over there and share your creations to support Peace for Ukraine!
1. Pancake Week (Maslenitsa)
Do you love pancakes? In Ukraine, there is a week long festival in March to say “bye” to winter and “welcome” to spring. This is called Maslenitsa (Pancake Week in English.) Pancake week is celebrated by other Slavic cultures, so it isn’t unique to Ukraine. However, it is very beloved there! Pancake week is celebrated in Ukraine with dancing, singing, tournaments –and feasting on plenty of pancakes of course. In Ukraine, the pancakes are similar to what we would call a crepe in the U.S., and they are filled with delicious things like Nutella, fruit and cream. Pancakes are chosen for this feast because the circular shape is symbolic of the sun and the sunnier days ahead that spring will bring.
Sunflowers are the national flower of Ukraine. A strong and happy flower, these blooms share much in common with the culture of the Ukrainian people, who are known for their grit as well as their love of celebrations. Since the war in Ukraine began, sunflowers have quickly become a symbol that represents the strength of the Ukraine and the nation’s resistance against the Russian invasion. Artists in both our Sparketh Community and our creative team have painted sunflowers to support the Ukraine. The video below can give you some ideas for how to paint your own sunflowers with acrylic paint.
3. Embroidered Clothing (Vyshyvanka)
The people of Ukraine are known throughout the world for their beautiful, brightly-colored, embroidered clothing, called Vyshyvanka. This beautiful, wearable art is more than just a fashion statement. It’s also a historical part of Ukraine’s culture. Each color and pattern has a meaning, and in ancient times a person’s Vyshyvanka was thought to protect them from harm. Learn more about this special Ukrainian custom in the video below.
4. Painted Eggs (Pysanka)
We dye eggs for Easter here in the U.S., but Ukrainians have long been known for their meticulously decorated Easter eggs. Ukrainian egg painting (Pysanka) involves careful planning, applying layers of beeswax, and dying eggs multiple times to create colorful and detailed patterns on the surface of the egg. Just like with Vshyvanka, the many symbols used on the eggs all represent something specific. This is a truly impressive Ukrainian art form that is creatively inspiring!
5. Petrikivka Painting
Petrikivka is a beautifully distinctive style of Ukrainian folk painting. This decorative art is named for the small town in which it originated (Petrikivka). Art in the Petrikivka style is extremely colorful and symbolic, like many other aspects of Ukrainian art. Subjects are often animals or flowers that are meant to reflect blessings on the home.
These are just a few of the beautiful things there are to love about Ukrainian culture. Ukraine is a nation of color, fun, and rich tradition. We hope that you feel inspired by some of these creative cultural aspects of Ukraine, and we hope that you’ll join us this month in the Sparketh Community to create art that supports peace in this special part of the world.