Can art make the world a better place?

Updated: May 15

Printmakers join forces for Ukraine using social media


In response to the monstrosity of the war in Ukraine, many people around the world try to do something to help, to the best of their abilities. Artists and printmakers are part of this movement and use social media to be heard.


In the printmakers’ community you might be familiar with two emblematic instagram led fundraisers such as #printmakersagainstracism by @printmakersasresistance and also #oneofmanypostcard set up by @johnapedder.


I can’t sit idle but I can print against war.

As early as the day after Ukraine’s invasion by the Russian army, Irenka Pareto, printmaker with Catalan roots living in the USA launched a fundraiser on Instagram #printmakersagainstwar ; she inspired numerous other printmakers in the world who joined her. Here is what she wrote:


“I can’t sit idle but I can print against war. Do you want to help me? As many of you, I am horror stricken by the unprovoked attack on the peoples of Ukraine by the Russian government. The images we have seen so far of people hiding in the subway with children grabbing their backpacks, grown ups crying in their cars trying to flee the cities with terrified expressions… It breaks my heart and reminds me so much of the stories my grandmother told me about civil war…

I can’t sit idle but it is always hard to know what one can do to help. For now, I have identified organizations that are helping on the ground and I plan to send money to support them and I am wondering if you want to join me”.


On Instagram she suggested the community of printmakers use #printmakersagainstwar too. The propositions are very diverse: artists can print a special edition, sell it at a fixed price and choose to donate a percentage or all proceeds to one or several charities; others prefer to organise an auction, or a draw…


Irenka printed a special edition of her linocutprint 'An opening' which she titled in Ukrainian 'free' as free Ukraine and terror free, danger free… She raised $2677 which she gave away to Razom for Ukraine and the Red cross; this number became $3451 after her husband's company matched the Red Cross money.


Linoprint (c) Irenka Pareto, The wonderstuck Printmaker

It's about printmakers and community rallying together to help.

Irenka says [about the concept of this fundraiser] ‘It's about printmakers and community rallying together to help. Also there is a huge tradition of art activism that I draw from in addition to drawing from so many inspiring people that are doing a lot more on the ground that I will ever get to do.’


Linocut print created for the 2022 challenge #printersolstice week 10 "minimalist"
blue and yellow

As far as I am concerned, I chose to continue offering my print as a ‘#oneofmanypostcard’ (a print sent free of charge for a donation of any amount to any organisation helping people and children of Ukraine). €510 (£422 / $553) have been raised so far. If you would like to take part, do not hesitate to contact me (I will make a reprint).


As Sara, who lives in Portugal testified, after having received her print, ‘with everything that is going on in the world, it’s been hard to put a big smile on my face but you just did it!’



All those initiatives have in common the ability to create a link between people, create warmth and play a role in lifting the weight of feeling helpless that one experiences when witnessing alone such an atrocious and dramatic event.


 

Where to find Irenka: