Tribute to Ukrainian mothers sparks diversity of opinion in central Prague

by Diana Dalton, Caroline Mueller

A Czech artist has created a gruesome sculpture suspended between two buildings above Dlouhá Street, depicting the form of a woman adorned with a traditional Ukrainian headdress that became a symbol of resistance during the Ukrainian Maidan revolution in 2014.

The wrought iron sculpture of Veronika Psotkova – Vinok – pays tribute to the mothers affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, which caused the flight of millions of refugees, mainly women and children.

“It was clear then that the war would be much longer…and the atmosphere in our country began to change,” Psotkova said.

Psotkova said she wanted to use her art to show her support for Ukrainians since the start of the war, but struggled to find the time to complete her vision based on a Vinok – the traditional Ukrainian headdress worn by Ukrainians. single women as a symbol of celebration, nature and peace. .

“It’s an artistic way of saying that we know war is real and happening,” Pstokova said. “That we should remember why so many people from the East come here to our country, and that we are part of Ukraine’s fight for their nation.”

The invasion of Russia renewed the Vinok as a symbol of Ukrainian resilience and unity and something that Psotkova placed at the heart of the artwork currently on display.

While not all passersby knew the meaning of the sculpture, Noor Taher, 32, from Dubai, described it as a powerful work that he hopes will show Ukrainians the support they have in Czechia .

“I think it’s great to have such a work of art in the middle of the city to symbolize that something is happening, so that we don’t forget it,” Taher said. “It will make (Ukrainians) feel recognized and empowered. Also that they are not alone in the face of this, that even the artists are worried about them.

For Ukrainians like Matej, 12, and Dasha, 14, who fled their hometown of Kharkiv in March, the sculpture reinforced the warm welcome they received in Prague as refugees and the support of the people Czech.

“Save Ukraine, please,” Dasha said.

Veronika, 29, a resident of Prague, thinks Czechs sympathize with Ukrainians because of Czechia’s experience during the Russian invasion thirty years ago. She believes this is why members of the Czech community are so willing to help.

Many people saw the sculpture as a kind gesture, but some convincing efforts to show support could be done in a more impactful way.

“I think art is important, but in the case of Ukraine, maybe you should use the money you spend on it for donations, because it doesn’t really raise awareness,” said the Danish visitor. Ida Toft, 19 years old.

The sculpture will remain on display for the rest of the summer.

Berta D. Wells