Following the military operation that Russia began on Feb. 24, Ukraine started to bear the burden of the invasion, calling for help from across the world. The Ukrainian flag has united many people, and various donations and organizations have taken place with the aim of providing the country with military and humanitarian aid.
But some of the aid given is not the typical kind. After Ukrainian officials made an unusual request on Twitter urging people to send them crypto, people began using this digital currency as their new fundraising method. Meanwhile, artists turned to nonfungible token (NFT) sales to send their donations to Ukraine.
Over 200 Ukrainian artists, for example, have united to create an NFT collection to raise funds for the country. Digital works by artists represented by the country’s main galleries were put on sale through the tech startup Holy Water, and the revenue received in the form of cryptocurrency from this sale was used to support the Ukrainian army.
While it feels like NFTs have been taking over the world recently, more artists are benefiting from these digital assets by raising money for Ukraine each day. Let’s take a close look at some of the artists using their NFT sales to support the country.
The first artist that caught my attention was Lorenzo Quinn. Quinn is a world-famous Italian sculptor whose work is inspired by masters such as Michelangelo, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Auguste Rodin.
The artist has dropped his first collection of NFTs to show his solidarity with the Ukrainian people via the digital art market SuperRare. In a collection of 1,000 unique pieces, which represent the value of the individual contributions made to fight for peace via unique dust particles, he sold 100 NFTs titled “Support Ukraine, Stop the war” and donated the totality of the profits of this NFT sale to three charities, all of whom are doing instrumental work to support civilians and medics: The Ukrainian Red Cross Society, Nova Ukraine and Sunflower for Peace, according to SuperRare.
The latest NFT by the artist is actually inspired by his iconic “Support” installation, first unveiled at the Venice Biennale in 2017 to raise awareness about sea levels that threaten Venice and all coastal cities around the world.
Another artist is New York-based visual artist Olive Allen. Allen is a pioneer of the crypto art movement, and has been creating in the NFTs space since its inception in 2018. But the artist of Russian origin made the headlines when she burned her Russian passport, recorded it as a video and sold it as an NFT via SuperRare NFT marketplace.
The courageous artist, who wanted to show support for Ukraine, shared on her Instagram account, “I’m a Russian artist and I burned my passport because I do not believe in Putin’s Russia and I do not support the war in Ukraine.” The artist also wrote on the SuperRare auction page: “The war in Ukraine is a tragedy taking the lives of innocent people and bringing devastating destruction. It breaks my heart. I burned my passport not because I do not love my country but because I do do not believe in Putin’s Russia. I stand for peace and freedom today and every day.”
All the NFT sale proceeds of the work will be donated to Save the Children Ukraine Fund.
Another Russian artist who is helping raise funds for Ukraine is Nadya Tolokonnikova. Tolokonnikova, who is also a Russian activist and member of the anarchist feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot, has launched a new organization to sell NFTs to raise funds for the relief effort in Ukraine. In the entity, an NFT of the Ukrainian flag is sold to donors for 2,250 ETH, and the revenue from the sale is donated to Come Back Alive, which will distribute food, medical supplies and other necessary services to civilians and the Ukrainian military.
Waone Interesni Kazki
Waone Interesni Kazki is one of Ukraine’s most famous artists and custodians. The artist also sells NTFs together with a gallery to help raise funds for Ukraine. He announced that he is sending 50% of the money from the sales directly to people around him who either need personal help or need supplies for the country’s defense.
Along with NFTs, Kazki also announced that he, together with a group of Ukrainian artists, will be selling a group of prints on the Juxtapoz Magazine website starting next week. The artist’s contributions are “The Magus” (2014) and “The Red Room” (2021).
Artem Humilevskiy is a Ukrainian photographer. When the Russian invasion started on Feb. 24, Humilevskiy posted a photo depicting him standing in a blooming mustard field, with a toy fan in his right hand raised to the sky and his left hand pointing toward the yellow field on Twitter and wrote: “This is my flag, my country, my Ukraine!!! We are the yellow fields and blue sky, we are a proud and free people! And we need the world’s support as never before, share any Ukrainian symbols! Only with the world, we can defeat the aggressor!!!!”
The artist also put a similar picture of himself on the NFT platform Foundation as well. While the work was last sold for 1.25 ETH, it has become a symbol of resistance by Ukraine and its people. NFT artists from across the world have been sharing his photos to express their solidarity with Ukraine.