Since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, people around the world have found myriad ways to show their support for the besieged European nation. The French are no exception. The day after Putin’s first attack, the Eiffel tower was illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. A week later, Notre Dame Cathedral’s bourdon Emmanuel, a massive tenor bell weighing 1100 lbs, rang out in a call for peace. The concerts, fundraisers, and special events in support of Ukraine are too numerous to list as France prepares to accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees—the same number proposed by the United States. As of March 10, close to 20,000 French citizens had volunteered to welcome fleeing evacuees into their homes.
Artists of all stripes have mobilized to #StandWithUkraine—online, in galleries, concert halls, and on the streets—some with lightning fast speed. On March 14, the French street artist JR and his crew were in the streets of Lviv to unfurl a massive poster of 5-year old Valeriia who fled to Poland with her family.
Throughout France, examples of murals, graffiti, stencils, and frescos that decry the bloody conflict abound. Below you’ll find a small sampling. I’ve listed each artist’s name/tag, followed by the piece’s title and the city in France where the work can be found. Most of these images link to an Instagram page or website that features other works by the same artist.
Some believe that art has the power to change the world. I’m not sure to what extent this statement is true but there’s no doubt in my mind that art makes the world’s most horrible circumstances easier to bear, even for those going through hell. Let me know what you think in the comments.
- Ouest France, Ukraine. Comment la France s’organise pour accueillir « plusieurs dizaines de milliers » de réfugiés
- SortiraParis, QUAND LE STREET ART SOUTIENT L’UKRAINE À PARIS
- Paris Secret, Street art : « Les Marches de la Paix », un live painting pour soutenir l’Ukraine à Paris
- Le HuffPost, Pour l’Ukraine, le monde du street art s’est mobilisé en dessin
- Reuters, Art in support of Ukraine
- actuLyon, PHOTO. Guerre en Ukraine : un artiste signe une œuvre émouvante rue de la République à Lyon
- USA Today, Artistic unity for Ukraine: Murals around the world show support amid Russian invasion
- SuperPosition-Lyon, Le street-art en faveur du peuple Ukrainien
- Street Art Utopia, The troll – Street art in Lyon by Big Ben on Putins War in Ukraine
- Street Art Utopia, 5 pics: Street Artist Seth on Putins War on Ukraine (in Paris)
- Street Art Utopia, Sadness in Ukraine – By Gregos in Paris, France
- Strom500, Artist / Illustrator / Muralist based in Strasbourg
- EmyArt, Homepage
- Bebarbarie, Homepage
Thanks for sharing what is happening on the streets in Paris.
You’re welcome Karen. Thanks for stopping by.
Oh I just love this artistic movement, which beings people together and is available to everyone.
Me too. It’s very uplifting even though the conditions that have provoked it, in this case, are terribly upsetting.
The idea is ok but the street graffiti do not like. My five cents…
Thanks for weighing in!
I do think street art like this makes a difference. Shows of unity are powerful, politicians care what public opinion is. Reminders like these keep the message about the war in front of people too, which could make them more likely to personally contribute.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply Lisa. Keeping the message in front of everyone, from the average citizen to the powerful does make a lot of sense.
Lisa, I just came across this today in the book “the Creative Doer”: “I’m convinced that a society without artists and creators wouldn’t last long. Artists are sanitation workers. We compost the waste of human existence. We gather the leftovers, the pain, the questions and the untold stories and turn it into something else, something new. We connect the dots. We are the keepers of our collective memory. Without artists we would lose our way. We would drown in our own dirt.”
Art seems to be inherent in being human. The cave paintings at Lascaux, many of which show brilliant and subtle artistic qualities, date from twenty thousand years ago, and rock art in Australia goes back twice that far. People started creating art before they had figured out how to do almost anything else. A world devoid of art would seem completely barren and inhuman, as alien as a distant planet.
An interesting collection and as variegated as artists themselves are. My favorite was the little girl stepping on the tanks — a reminder that the Ukrainians, far from being mere passive victims, are proving very capable of defending themselves, in part thanks to all the weapons supplied by the West.
I’m a little surprised that Putin doesn’t feature in a larger number of these. He makes a very worthy villain. Ripping off the head of the peace dove befits him.
That’s impressive that 20,000 French citizens have volunteered to host refugees — though I kind of hope that the harridan of Montpellier, whom you encountered earlier, is not among them, unless she has mellowed out somewhat.
I agree Infidel, the girl stepping on tanks is excellent. There is another good one of Putin that I’d wanted to include but it’s owned by Getty Images so I couldn’t put it in. You’re right though. I was hoping to find more with Putin but I like the fact that the overall message is one of Ukrainian resilience.
The 20,000 volunteers all have to be vetted plus if I can handle Mme Homard, she’s no match for the Ukrainians I’ve been seeing on TV.
Wonderful Carol. I think I know where Djoulaybabay (?) painted. Looks like Métro nationale in the South of Paris.
Art might not save the world, but it sure helps…
Cool that you can recognize the spot. That particular piece is very different from the rest of that Djoulayapapaye’s work. I think you’re right Brieuc, art keeps many people from falling into despair.
leave it up to the French to make something beautiful of this
I think artists around the world are responding in kind but these are indeed some spectacular examples.
I don’t know if art can change the world but I most definitely believe it can make a difference and send a message just as these amazing artists are doing.
I totally agree Pooja.
I liked one someone spotted in Catalonia of the Bad Man behind bars.