Ukrainian artists create Madonna and Child sculpture from humanitarian aid in Nice

Victoria Kulikova /Cover Images

On the anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops (24 February 2023), a new work of art, the Refugees Installation, appeared in Nice, France.

The temporary objet d'art, which depicts the biblical image of the Madonna and Child, was presented on the promenade opposite the world-famous Hotel Le Negresco.

It was created by the brothers Mykyta and Yehor Zihura, sculptors from Kyiv, who are known for their large-scale projects. It utilises materials like those given to the millions of refugees who have been forced to flee Ukraine since the start of the war - either to safer parts of the country or abroad.

"The image of mother and child is devoted to the eternal themes in fine art," Yehor explained. "It is a potent symbol of life prolongation and humankind survival. It has been depicted since ancient times and, first of all, in public consciousness, it is a biblical story about the Mother of God and Jesus Christ."

Mykyta added: "The woman's gorgeous outfit is made of clothing items borrowed from the humanitarian headquarters. The pomposity of the baroque composition deliberately contrasts with the materials that were used: clothes, food, and medicine."

Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, millions of internally displaced persons have been forced to temporarily leave their homes and need support.

The sculpture was commissioned by the local Franco-Ukrainian Association (L'Association Franco-Ukrainienne Côte d'Azur), whose president, Iryna Podyriako, said it was an "honour" to work with the famous Ukrainian art duo.