On Friday, Ukraine’s public TV channel Suspilne devoted one of its news video stories to the Icons on Ammo Boxes art project, the main sponsor of the Pirogov First Volunteer Mobile Hospital. Journalist Viktoria Volyk reported on the project’s origin and interviewed its authors Oleksandr Klymenko and Sonia Atlantova as well as PFVMH Supervisory Board Chairman Gennadiy Druzenko.
Oleksandr Klymenko told about how he had hit upon the idea of the charitable art project. His wife, Sonia Atlantova, said she had been interested in the opportunity to work with an unusual wood texture and transform death into life: “So I imagine: the tree grew and was cut. Then some of the wood went, for example, for tables, some other for icons, and yet other for ammunition boxes. And I imagined or fantasized that I was changing the fate of this pine that had been forced to carry death, and now it carries life. And it is for long and I hope it is beautiful.”
The report was aired the day when the married couple of artists received awards for this project – third-grade Orders for Merit. The orders were handed by Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klichko at the City Hall (PFVMH Deputy Executive Director Ivan Ozhog was also decorated with an order at this ceremony.)
According to Oleksandr, the work on an icon might last a day or it might take two years. Icons are priced from $1,500 up each. The artists retain only 30 percent of receipts on sold items, giving away the rest for charity, in particular the financial support of the PFVMH.
Says Gennadiy Druzenko: “Over the time of the hospital’s operation, the Icons on Ammo Boxes project has become its main sponsor, almost exclusive in recent years.”
At present, 28 icons painted under the project are exposed at UkrOboronProm (the Ukrainian Defense Industry corporation). Other works are kept in the United States and France.