In Featured, Pastor Paul's Blog

By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘ART’ as in… one artist’s act of subversive creativity becomes a powerful moment of defiance and even hope.

The Ukrainian city of Borodyanka is just over 30 miles northwest of Kyiv. A drone flies over the main street, looking down at the images of war. Buildings lie in ruins, fires blaze, and smoke rises above the streets now littered with the wreckage of war. There is mind-numbing devastation everywhere. Once filled with people with hopes and dreams, a multi-story apartment building is charred; all the windows are shattered, and the middle section is collapsed from the shelling. There are burned vehicles in the streets. Most of the power lines are down and lay twisted on the ground.

Near the destroyed apartment building is a park where children once played, people rode bicycles, and friends shared lunch on sunny afternoons. In the middle of the park, a statue remains of the mid-nineteenth century poet Taras Shevchenko. There are bullet holes in the forehead. The pillar on which the bust rests is pockmarked with the shrapnel.

Yaroslav Halubchik, an artist from Kyiv, is in Borodyanka with other artists on a mission to create “an instant memorial.” They call it ‘The Healing of Shevchenko.’ Three policemen hold a ladder while Halubchik climbs up and begins wrapping gauze bandages around the large head. Moments later, a man dressed in a Ukrainian military uniform arrives and asks if they are repairing the statue. “No, this is performance art,” Yaroslav explains.

Since February 24, 2022, when Ukraine was invaded, stories and images have emerged that have shaken the global community. More times than I can count, words have utterly failed me in response to reports of horrific atrocities. A sense of futility has overwhelmed me many times. How does one respond to evil on such a massive scale? As it turns out, one artist’s act of creativity becomes a powerful moment of subversive defiance and even hope. Out of the ashes and dust of war rises the spirit of purpose and life. Three cheers to the artists in the world! Three cheers! Three cheers!


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.



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