Mykhailo Skop (aka #NEIVANMADE)
A native of Lviv, Mykhailo Skop is an interdisciplinary artist and art critic. He is working towards a Ph.D. at Lviv National Academy of Arts, with easel graphics, digital art, wall painting, and multimedia installation as his primary media. Since the outbreak of the full-scale invasion, Mykhailo has been reflecting on iconic images and symbols of the Russian-Ukrainian war in his works. He also works with the issues of propaganda and stereotypical images of Ukrainians abroad. The artist believes in the power of visual signs and images through which you can speak to people anywhere in the world, bypassing language barriers. He uses religious, mystical, and mythological motifs to represent ‘extraordinary’ reality. His images are inspired by folk Ukrainian wood carvings, traditional icon painting, and Francisco Goya's series of etchings, "The Disasters of War." Mykhailo has participated in many exhibitions and projects, including Ukraine War Posters (Lviv Art Center, Ukraine; Reykjavík SIM Gallery, Iceland, 2023), Ukraine. Under a Different Sky (Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland, 2022), WAR DIARIES (The Why Not Gallery, Tbilisi, Georgia, 2022), Poster Art For Ukraine (Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, USA, 2022), and others.
The caption on the poster, “And we will show brothers that we are of the Cossack nation,” comes from Ukraine’s national anthem. The artist portrays a scene from street protests in Kherson, a major city in the south of Ukraine, and the first one to fall to the Russian troops. After the city was occupied, hundreds of people would gather bravely in the central square every day (sometimes up to 2,000 people), chanting and holding Ukrainian flags, to protest against the occupation. The locals took to the streets in defiance of the eight-month-long occupation, cut off from news of the outside world, without a cell signal, and in the conditions of intense Russian propaganda and relentless persecutions. Kherson was liberated on November 9-11, 2022.
Bakhmut, a town on the frontline in the Donetsk region in the east of Ukraine, has been a site of relentless fighting between the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Russian troops. The intensity of battles in Bakhmut and on its outskirts has been compared to World War I and II. The poster shows a courageous Ukrainian warrior clutching, barehanded, two heads of the eagle from Russia’s coat of arms. The eagle symbolizes the aggressor country, powerful but ultimately helpless before the fearless (even if wounded) warrior. The metaphor also has another, more literal meaning: Ukraine is getting a lot of weapons from its allies, but it’s still not enough for an effective defense and counteroffensive. However, Ukrainian soldiers continue fighting—only the toll of deaths and injuries and civilian suffering are very high.