The war in Ukraine lit a strong flame of solidarity in the hearts of my Sport in Art colleagues. Thus the initiative MAKE ART NOT WAR was born which called for Czech and international artists’ submissions for a charity poster collection. The money gathered from the sale of these unique graphic works will be sent to the transparent account SOS Ukraine created by the organisation Člověk v tísni. The project hasn’t remained just online - in a joint effort with the Prague venue Vnitroblock an exhibition MAKE ART NOT WAR will take place on the 21st of April showing all of the works for sale.
Jan Dvořák and Vojta Fiala from Sport in Art approached artists who they collaborated with in the past on various art projects inspired by movement and sport. This is how artist Milan Cais came to take part in the initiative: “the MAKE ART NOT WAR project is a nice and humble thought that can aid in the fight against the monstrous and greedy thinking of those in power. The fact that the artworks on offer aren’t originals but posters on high-quality paper can make them more accessible to a wide spectrum of potential donors,” says the artist and member of the band Tata Bojs.
In the end, the callout has been answered not only by Czech authors like Cais, Michal Škapa, David Strauzz or the illustrator duo Tomski&Polanski but also by international artists, including Ukrainian artists Andrew Kalkov and Serhii Hrychaniuk, Spanish street-artist Liquen, Saki Matsumoto from Japan or the Slovakian painter Eva Fajčíková, and many more. All works are original and current reactions to the war, some speak to the viewer through the symbols of peace, humour or fierce gestures of objection. “How you’ll choose to approach this is up to you. Our area of focus is sport and art so if your work will also include the topic of movement it will be an added positive. However, the power of your message is more important”. The project’s organisers distanced themselves from the original idea inspired by sport so that the collection could grow in a more uninhibited way and the conditions didn’t limit the potential financial profit going directly to Ukrainian aid.
„At first, we wanted to approach and symbolically connect Czech and Ukrainian artists. But as time went on, more and more important artists from all over the world are joining the effort. We have contributors from Japan to Spain and more are still joining,” adds Dvořák.
The charity project is yet more proof that art has immense power to help and push ideas forward. The organisers based their efforts on this idea and in a very short time managed to gather artists, launch the e-shop and organise an exhibition. Jan Dvořák, the director of Sport in Art, adds: „We decided to use the form of a poster because, historically, it has been the carrier of not just advertisement but also political messages. During the wars in the past, it served as a medium for expressing resistance against the enemy. The posters allow the artist flexibility when reacting to current events and communicate their position to the world through their individual visual language.” He also considers posters to be an accessible art form that can be used as a tool to financially support an allied country in need. It’s up to you if you purchase a poster online or come and visit our exhibition in the Vnitroblock cafe. One poster costs 800 Kč and is printed on special paper in the A4 format.
Everyone working on the MAKE ART NOT WAR project is doing so either for free or for the basic cover of expenses.