Published on 11 April 2022
Students, artists and academics united for a one-off exhibition in a bid to show their support to the people of Ukraine
The ‘We Stand With Ukraine’ exhibit has been on display at the University of Sunderland’s Priestman Gallery.
One of the artists who helped organise the event is MA Fine Art student Natasha Kerr-Armstrong.
The 35-year-old said: “Myself and Ashlee Kennedy, another student on my course, had been watching with horror everything that was happening in Ukraine.
“We were just saying how utterly helpless we felt and how we had a real desire to do something – anything – to help.
“The module we are currently doing on our University programme is called ‘do it’ so we decided to do just that.”
The pair enlisted other artists and lecturers from the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries and were offered some exhibition space in the University’s Priestman Gallery.
James Hutchinson, MA Fine Art Programme Leader at the University, said: “This is an exhibition showcasing artwork to raise awareness, support and money for those affected by the invasion of Ukraine.
“Lots of artists, students and lecturers alike, made time in their busy schedule to bring this exhibition together with only just over a fortnight's notice.
“We are immensely grateful for the generosity and solidarity shown by everyone across the art department of the University.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine started on February 24. Attacks by Russian forces were reported in major cities across Ukraine, including Berdyansk, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Sumy, and the capital Kyiv.
Western officials claimed that by scope, the war could be the largest in Europe since 1945.
Natasha, who is mum to Matthew, two, added: “As a parent, seeing all these children being displaced is something I hoped I would never see in my lifetime, so we must do all we can to help.”
The University of Sunderland is supporting MadeAtUni: Creative Sparks, a national campaign to showcase the creative talent produced by UK universities and encourage the Government to promote and support the importance of creativity and creative courses.