If you’re regularly using social media, you may have noticed a proliferation of sunflower images and pictures of yellow fields of grain beneath clear blue skies. The sunflower, the national flower of Ukraine, has become a symbol of peace and solidarity for the war-torn country since Russia invaded at the end of February.
The yellow fields under blue skies mirror the yellow and blue bars of the Ukrainian flag and speak to the country’s role as a major supplier of wheat to Europe and the world.
Artists in Ukraine have not only continued to work but have doubled down on their efforts to stay creative and demonstrate strength by producing art and posting it online, donating the proceeds.
Artists and makers the world are are showing their support by sharing their own paintings, photographs, drawings and all manner of crafted items. By tagging their images with hashtags such as #sunflowersforukraine, #peace, #supportukraine, #standwithukraine, and #stopthewar, those who post ensure their contributions will be visible to thousands of others who have their accounts set to show posts with those tags.
‘Hope and Strength’
Besides sunflowers and images of the Ukrainian flag, artists have been painting landscapes and abstractions drenched in the flag’s blue and yellow color scheme.
The first national flag for Ukraine was adopted in 1848 by revolutionaries who wanted its western regions freed from Austro-Hungarian rule, according to Wikipedia. They based their flag, consisting of equal horizontal stripes of yellow over blue, on the coat of arm’s of the city of Lviv, showing a golden lion on a blue shield, an emblem dating back many centuries. Late in 1918 the decision was made to reverse the stripes of the 1848 flag to reflect the symbolism of “blue skies over golden wheat fields.”
Ukrainian artist Tanya Kyianytsia recently posted a picture of herself with one of her paintings standing in front of a golden-yellow field.
“The flag of my country is associated with fields of bread and a peaceful blue sky,” she told me in a conversation over Instagram. “You can feel how cheerful and full of life these colors are. Even during war they give us hope and strength.”
We’re keeping an eye on our artist friends in Ukraine, including Vera Kavera, who teaches flower painting on video. She lives in Kiev and we were worried, but thankfully we learned she escaped to the countryside.