Exhibition «Face of War» showcased in response to Putin’s speech at United Nations / Rayburn Foyer - United States Сongressional office "Rayburn House" building and Capitol Hill Club / Washington

An important art event, an exhibition of the world famous painting The Face of War of the outstanding Ukrainian artist Daria Marchenko was held in the US Congress in Washington, on September 28, 2015. Work was presented at one of the best venues – the capital’s Capitol Hill Club. Tremendous interest in the painting was demonstrated by congressmen, the representatives of the political elite of the United States and other countries: Nancy Pelosi  (Democratic Leader by House Democrats); Ileana Ros-Lehtinen  (Florida State Senator);  Ted W. Lieu  (California State Senator); Ed Royce  (Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee); Paul  Behrends  (Staff Director Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats); Сongressman Trent Franks (Arizona's district); David Gowan  (Speaker of the Arizona House of  Representatives); Temur Iakobashvili  (Ambassador of Georgia to the United States). From among others, the exhibition welcomed the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko.  VIDEO:  VOICE OF USA   DKS NEWS

The painting has received prolific coverage not only in the American media, but also virtually in all world’s largest media; it was featured on the front pages of The Herald News, TheTimes, The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, and The Wall Street Journal. However, not all those who wished to see The Face of War got a chance to do so: in Ukraine, the painting was on exhibition in the M17 Gallery one day only.

On September 30, 2015, on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the United Nations, another exhibition was arranged for this painting in Washington, D.C., in the Reyburn House Office Building of the Congress. This painting is impressive, and more so due to the fact that it was created with almost 5,000 bullet cartridges brought from the frontline of the military conflict in the East of Ukraine, and changes its appearance in interactive lighting. The painting aims to draw the world’s attention to the war in Ukraine. The work has become not only an art event, but a tool to facilitate political dialogue, as numerous influential members of Congress directly involved in the decision-making process pertinent to Ukraine had an opportunity to socialize with Ukrainian representatives and to personally experience the entire pain of war, as well as voice their opinions.

The author of the work that stirred up the world, Daria Marchenko, related, “Members of Congress said that Putin’s aim consists in dividing nations and receiving military and political advantages; however, America, as the voice of global leadership, aspires to support Ukraine in different ways. Moreover, the UN is becoming void of the sinews of power, i.e. an organization that de facto has no impact, and Ukraine is left alone in its response to threats from Russia. In this situation, the USA, in fact, becomes the only political power of containment that keeps Russia from taking more decisive steps. This event was made possible owing to tremendous efforts on the part of cultural and political activists, the cooperation of Ukrainian patriots representing both Ukraine and the United States.”



As known, art is the shortest way to human heart. With her creation, the artist has delivered an emotionally charged message that Ukrainian soldiers are fighting not only for the safety of Europe, but for that of the entire civilized world. Many members of Congress at the exhibition reassured Daria Marchenko in their solidarity and promised continued support to Ukraine in the future. At times, a single visual image has a far greater effect than thousands of pages of war statistics.

Project organization was undertaken by a prominent figure, Igor Pasternak, for which the artist expressed her profound gratitude to him. Moreover, she marked the facilitating role of Gennadiy Kurochka and Oleksii Syvak (CFC Consulting) in the project.

Exhibition participants noted, “Daria Marchenko has managed to accomplish what many politicians have failed – to tell about the true face of war and who is really the one to have ruined the world of millions of people, having turned many children into orphans, wives, into widows, and having brought woe to parents. The tender artist managed to convey all the tragedy of events and to draw the attention of the entire world towards the war that is happening in Ukraine because of the Russian invasion.”

 «As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. Not a flattering exhibit, it’s rendered in a unique medium that its Ukrainian creator, Daria Marchenko, calls not only a work of art, but a political statement.

 "The Faces of War" ironically consists of only one picture — a portrait of Vladimir Putin made up of some 5,000 empty cartridge casings from the front lines in eastern Ukraine, where government forces battled Russian-backed separatists.


Marchenko says she got the idea when her boyfriend brought her first shell — from the EuroMaidan protests in Kyiv. Then, she says, everything happened by itself.

"When I started this project, I realized that Ukraine’s losses in the war are getting bigger and bigger. I also had the feeling that only we Ukrainians can feel this, and people from all around the world don’t have the same understanding," said Marchenko. "The quantity of the grief around me was a sign that I have to use a lot of shells."

The exhibition’s organizers also laid razor wire on the floor in front of the portrait, adding additional symbolism.

"We did this project in order to show every Ukrainian and every American, or the person who works in Congress, that Putin brings discomfort into your life," said exhibition organizer Oleksiy Syvak. "He came to your house and he will not go away easily."

Since first publicly showing the project, Marchenko has gotten feedback from around the world, including messages from Algeria, the Netherlands, Syria, and Russia. While most were positive, even seemingly supportive letters from Russia were threats.

"The energy of this project is very dark," said Marchenko. "I mean, you cannot be cheerful while doing projects like that. But I was not able to stop it either. This is my sign of respect for all of those Ukrainian soldiers, thanks to whom I still live in the capital of my country, Kyiv, without the war."


As lighting in the exhibit changes, Putin's expression seems to change as well — from excited to frightened and even demonic. Marchenko says she hopes Putin will hear about the exhibition... and perhaps change his behavior too.

"I think there is no dictator in the world who will tell you honestly what kind of thoughts he has when he is alone in the cold night, but I believe they can feel what kind of future is waiting for them," said Marchenko.

"The Faces of War" is currently negotiating additional showings at museums in Italy, Britain and even India».



© Dasha Marchenko, 2020