Despite two years of war children in Ukraine continue to show resilience and strength

UNICEF showcases this strength through the "Atelier of Dreams" exhibition

22 February 2024
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UNICEF

Kyiv, 22 February 2024: Two years after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, children in Ukraine continue to show remarkable resilience and strength despite ongoing violence, destruction, and displacement. To mark the spirit shown by these children during wartime, UNICEF is launching the "Atelier of Dreams" exhibition, which opens on 22 February at the National Center Ukrainian House. The artwork at this exhibition was created by over 150 children who have collaborated with well-known Ukrainian artists.

"It is important to remember that in a few years these children will become adults that Ukraine will depend on,” says Munir Mammadzade, UNICEF Representative to Ukraine . “Every day, they demonstrate inner strength, supporting their families, peers, and communities. The will of children is a source of change and they will be rebuilding Ukraine and turning their dreams into reality.  Therefore, the well-being and observance of children's rights is one of today's highest priorities.”

Despite the horrors of war, many children have found respite in art and creativity, learning to sing, dance, paint, and support each other.

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UNICEF

"During our regular interactions, we asked children what had surprised them the most and what they were dreaming about,” says Mr. Mammadzade. “Without exception, all responded that above all they wanted peace. They also expressed regular childhood desires, like wanting a new phone or toy, a rabbit, a dog, or traveling to the sea. No matter how difficult their experience is, no matter what losses they have endured, they continue to smile. Like flowers breaking through asphalt to the sun, Ukrainian children continue to thrive after sleepless nights, create, dream, and act.”

Children in frontline areas of Ukraine have been forced to spend up to 5,000 hours in basements and bomb shelters over the last two years – the equivalent of six months underground. Furthermore, as of September 2023, only around half of schools had been able to implement face-to-face learning and, in critical areas of the east and south of the country, just 15 per cent of children were able to attend classes, with the rest studying online.

Growing up surrounded by war is also having a significant impact on children’s mental health. According to UNICEF estimates from last year, 1.5 million children are at risk of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. 

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UNICEF

For the exhibition, over 150 children have collaborated with well-known Ukrainian artists, such as Masha Reva, Ksenia Bilyk, Yuriy Bolsa and Anton Logov, under the mentorship of Katya Taylor, founder of the Port of Culture organization. Their artworks reflect the emotions and experiences of children during wartime and were crafted as part of workshops held at UNICEF Spilno Spots in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Dnipro and Odesa.

The principal exhibit is the “Blossom of Childhood” installation by Bilyk, which illustrates the dreams, freedom and will to live of Ukrainian children through a display of 12,000 flowers based on their drawings. Visitors will be able to take a flower home and create a new one to replace it. In addition, artworks created by children and youth from over 50 communities across Ukraine will be presented by the Cultural Platform of Zakarpattia organization.

As part of the exhibition and a creative program run by the Cultural Platform of Zakarpattia, children will have the opportunity to take part in workshops, in which they can play musical instruments, explore the world through sound, express their emotions through photography, develop their confidence in acting classes, join jam sessions with young jazz performers, and immerse themselves in Ukrainian pop art and culture. Program mentors will include choreographer Anatoliy Sachivko, designer Danilo Shulipa, indie-pop band TONKA. The workshops will run until 3 March.

🖊️ Schedule and registration for events for children and youth: https://spilnocamp.cultpz.org/

📆 The “Atelier of Dreams” exhibition opens from 22 February to 3 March, with daily entry from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM .

Entry is free.

👉 Address: National Center “Ukrainian House” (Kyiv, str. Khreschatyk, 2)

The organizer of this exhibition is UNICEF, with the participation of the Port of Culture organization and the public association Cultural Platform.

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UNICEF

Media contacts

Damian Rance
Chief Advocacy and Communications
UNICEF Ukraine

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org  

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