Russian artist and Ukrainian in Bali collaborate on a message of unity

Russian artist Pokras Lampas and Ukrainian Alex Shtefan pose with one of Pokras’ nine calligraphy works on the roof of Alex’s villas in Bali, Indonesia March 16, 2022. REUTERS

NORTH KUTA, Indonesia — A Russian artist and a Ukrainian owner of a villa complex on the Indonesian island of Bali have come together to promote peace and unity through a giant work of art.

The piece of calligraphy — spanning 960 m² (10,333 square feet) across the rooftops of nine buildings — spells out “United World” in six languages: Russian, Ukrainian, English, Chinese, French and Indonesian.

“This work is not a political statement, it’s a cultural statement, it’s a social statement, about people and how we can come together to create a future in harmony,” the calligrapher told Reuters. Russian Pokras Lampas.

Lampas, who has been in Bali since December, said the idea was developed with a group of Ukrainian friends before the war started, but now the work has taken on even more meaning.

Lampas, 30, who describes his style as “calligrafuturism” and says it encompasses modern calligraphy and elements of street art, spent three weeks creating the work.

Alex Shtefan, the Ukrainian who runs the villa complex, said the artwork aligned with his values ​​and sent an important message.

“We can show the world in our villas our idea that (the) world should be united,” said Shtefan, who has lived in Indonesia for six years.

Both men said they were shocked by the war in Ukraine.

“If we can find a way to stop it and find a peaceful way to negotiate, we have to do it now,” Lampas said. Even though the two countries have their own cultures, “Russia and Ukraine have always been like a brother, we are always… close, we always help each other and even we look alike,” said Shtefan, 35.

“We can’t believe this happened,” Shtefan said, adding he was worried about the safety of loved ones back home.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February in a military offensive it describes as a “special military operation”.

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