Viacheslav Pasynok (Ukraine)

When life gets tough, we all start thinking differently. For me, like many others, the breakout of war in Ukraine was the push to reassess my priorities and focus on what really matters. My relationships with my loved ones and doing what I can to help others came to the fore. My friends became almost my second family. And I found solace in doing ceramics with children, for whom our classes were a fountain of hope, even just for a while.

To help others during this difficult time, I channelled my creativity into something meaningful. Every ceramic piece we created with the children became a vessel for the experiences and emotions we’ve all felt during the war. It’s heartbreaking that these children have already been through so much at such a young age – they know what it’s like to hide from missiles, to lose their homes and even their parents. They’ve had to be incredibly brave to survive.

My mission is to bring comfort to these children and give them a sense of peace, which is exactly what happens when they sculpt with clay. With the strength I derive from my faith, I continue to invest in the younger generation. Right now, every caring person in Ukraine is doing what they can to help. It’s in our nature to support each other, especially in tough times like these.

The main idea behind all our artwork is that there is hope for a better future and peace.

We believe in peace and victory. We believe that the suffering will end and that children will be able to be children again.

When the war started, I felt lost. But then I received an invitation from the city to volunteer workshops for children in the underground metro, where many people sought refuge.

The workshops were held at the Armiyska metro station in Kharkiv, where people hide during the shelling. It was a way for the children to distract themselves from the horrors of war. I visited the children in the subway for an entire month, firing all the objects they made. Some of their works were presented at an international exhibition in Turkey, Ankara, at the Korean Centre in 2022–2023, in a private collection display in Norway in 2023–2024, and in a show in Amsterdam in 2024.

Each artwork here has its own story, which you can feel when you look at it. My goal is to share my experiences and the many childhood experiences shaped by the war and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Exhibition period: 17 May 2024 – 18 May 2024