Local art and artists show support, raise money for Ukraine

Digital art by Dominika Dancewicz / Courtesy of the artist

Dominika Dancewicz is known in Houston and beyond as an accomplished violinist with the Axiom Quartet and Duo Dramatique. But she says she’s also always been interested in visual art, designing posters and flyers for concerts and dabbling in digital art.

In the days following the February 24th Russian invasion of Ukraine, she got an idea.

“I could make different kinds of images using the same [software and apps] and start raising awareness and possibly raise money to help,” she said. “I started making digital designs, or digital art pieces, with activist images pertaining specifically to the situation in Ukraine.”

Dancewicz then opened an online store on Redbubble, a print-on-demand platform, and began creating digital collages and graphic statements, “using the colors of the Ukrainian flag, various symbols of defiance and peace, along with some other symbolism.”

Art by Dominika Dancewicz

When people purchase the designs – printed on everyday items, like T-shirts, mugs, mousepads, phone skins – Dancewicz says she makes about a 20% profit on each item sold, and she plans to contribute all profits to the Ukraine-based Hospitallers, a volunteer medical organization that treats and evacuates the wounded.

A native of Poland, Dancewicz said she first heard about Hospitallers through the prominent Polish daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, which had listed it among organizations providing boots-on-the-ground aid in Ukraine. Hospitallers has also been mentioned by Newsweek and NPR.

Dancewicz’s Axiom Quartet also plans to collect donations for Ukraine at an outdoor concert on March 12:

Axiom Quartet Porch Concert
Saturday, March 12, 6pm
1816 W 14th Street in the Heights
Sponsored by the Clark Pines Civic Association of Houston Heights
Collecting donations and tips for Ukraine

In addition to accepting donations, she says the quartet will donate 100% of their tips from the concert to one or more of the charities listed on their Facebook event page, and they plan to maintain transparency of their donations on social media.

When asked how the war in Ukraine has personally affected her, Dancewicz shared with Houston Arts Journal:

“Even though I myself haven’t experienced the direct impact of war, everything in my accrued life experience – the literature I read, the movies I saw, the places I grew up around [in Poland], the monuments, the museums, the bullet holes in old buildings, the concentration camps, the memories of my own grandparents – all of that screams at me that the violence of war is very real. 

“Through the stories of World War II survivors, through the stories of my parents and grandparents … the trauma of war is embedded in me, and I guess it’s embedded in all of my fellow Poles. Seeing the images of abysmal destruction of the Ukrainian cities, buildings, apartments, and homes that look remarkably just like the one I grew up in, causes a very visceral reaction in me: this is just too close to home … I’m absolutely shaken, scared, and very concerned.”

Paintings by Rada Bukhman and Natalia Kachanova-Rhodes / Courtesy of Russian Cultural Center – Our Texas

Elsewhere in the Houston arts community, the Russian Cultural Center – Our Texas is holding a Charity Concert for Peace on Friday, March 11, 7pm and a Charity Art Auction for Ukraine on Sunday, March 13, 2pm.

Sophia Grinblat, the center’s founder and president, came to Houston in 1990 from Ukraine and “is devastated by Russia’s invasion of her home country,” as reported by ABC 13.

According to the organization’s website: “The Russian-speaking community in Houston supports the people of Ukraine, refugees, and would like to help providing them with the basic supplies.”

The concert will feature violinist Oleg Sulyga, clarinetist Alexander Potiomkin, and pianist Tali Morgulis.

Local artists Natalia Kachanova-Rhodes and Rada Bukhman are donating their paintings to be auctioned.

The center says it plans to donate all money from both charity events to Malteser International and Malteser Ukraine.

Art has also appeared on the streets of Houston in response to the war in Ukraine:

Photo by Catherine Lu

The mural #StandWithUkraine, located at 112 Travis Street downtown, was painted by local artist Shelbi Nicole. It was commissioned by Iryna Petrovska Marchiano, former president of the Ukrainian American Cultural Club of Houston, who also launched the website HTX4UKRAINE.

Photo by Catherine Lu

Houston’s iconic graffiti bridge on I-45 Southbound near I-10, which in the past has famously displayed “Be Someone,” was recently painted to read “No War Know Peace” in an anti-war sentiment by artist Chandrika Metivvier.

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