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A massive portrait of Putin made out of bullet shells from Ukraine is on view in NYC

Written by
Clayton Guse

Photograph: Courtesy Ukrainian Institute

There’s been no shortage of politically charged art in New York City since President Donald Trump took office last year, and a good chunk of its focus has been on the current presidential administration. On Thursday, an exhibit debuted at the Ukrainian Institute on the Upper East Side that takes aim at another international figure: Vladimir Putin. 

The Russian president has been one of the most menacing figures in world politics for decades, but since the country annexed Crimea in 2014 and reportedly meddled in the American election in 2016, the conversation surrounding Putin has grown even more concerning. The exhibit, titled “Five Elements of War,” is the product of Ukrainian artists Daria Marchenko and Daniel Green, and it takes a combative and critical stance against the actions of the Russian military and intelligence agencies in recent years. 

The exhibit contains five different pieces, the most notable of which is The Face of War, a seven-foot-high portrait of Putin that contains 5,000 bullet casings collected from the battlefront in Donbass, Ukraine, where an ongoing war between Ukrainian government and pro-Russian forces has waged since 2014. 

The other four works, The Brain of War, The Flesh of War, The Heart of War and Honour, all make an effort to humanize the effects of war, especially as it relates to the current conflict in Ukraine. 

The exhibit will be on view at the Ukrainian Institute through February 4. You can see photos of the works below and find more details at the museum’s website


Photograph: Courtesy Ukrainian Institute

Brain of War

Photograph: Courtesy Ukrainian Institute

Heart of War

Photograph: Courtesy Ukrainian Institute

Flesh of War

Photograph: Courtesy Ukrainian Institute

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