When the bombs started raining down on Ukraine last month, Rush artist Cormac Dennis immediately wanted to do something to help.
ut what started as an idea for a small exhibition in his home town quickly turned into a major fundraising event for the Irish Red Cross and the Polish Humanitarian Alliance.
Cormac, a respected and accomplished artist for 30 years, was blown away by the response when he asked for artwork donations, with more than 110 pieces received in the space of weeks from across the country – and even from Ukraine.
The week-long Artists for Ukraine exhibition found its way to the Strand Bar restaurant, thanks to the support of publican Joe Sherman, with an impressive fundraising of €7,000 on opening night last Thursday.
All proceeds from the sale of these stunning works of art will go directly to the two charities working with those directly affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
The eclectic range of art includes a stunning painting by gifted Ukrainian artist Laura Medvedieva, who recently fled Kyiv and is currently living in emergency accommodation in Dublin. She was a guest at the exhibition’s opening night, with her appearance described as “very special”.
Another standout piece by artist Colin O’Neill has been a major talking point since the exhibition opened.
The work is inspired by the story of Amelia Anisovych, a seven-year-old Ukrainian girl, who won the hearts of the world when she sang a moving rendition of “Let It Go” in a bomb shelter from Kyiv.
While the original painting was quickly bought up, limited edition prints – courtesy of Visuals Framing’s Shane Byrne – are still on sale for £50 each.
Cormac told Fingal Independent he was overwhelmed by the response from artists and the local community and described the artwork on display as “a feast for the eyes”.
“People are watching what is happening in Ukraine right now and want to show their support,” he said. “Personally,
“I feel very affected by what is happening because the situation in Ukraine mirrors what happened during the Second World War, with people being sent off to who knows where and indiscriminate killings in the streets.
“It’s simply barbarism on a scale we can’t allow again – and it’s all happening within hours of us.”
Cormac said that while he was surprised by the sheer volume of artwork donated, he believes artists are generous people by their very nature.
“Every job they do is an expression of compassion and does good for the world,” he added. “I wasn’t so surprised that artists were willing to give up their work for free.”
With the physical exhibit set to end this week, all remaining or newly donated artwork and prints are now available for purchase online. Cormac also hopes to encourage local businesses to support the cause by purchasing artwork for their premises.
The Artists for Ukraine website (artistsforukrainerush.ie) also has a link for donations without having to purchase an artwork or print.