«It was difficult to force myself to draw even small pictures in the midst of continuous explosions, but it was necessary in order not to go mad». Dima Fatum, originally from Kiev, is a Ukrainian artist who, since the outbreak of war, has used his art to collect money and help soldiers and his fellow citizens left without a livelihood.
«I met the war in Kharkiv. I was visiting there and was supposed to return home to Kiev on 24 February. At the time I had very mixed feelings: a lack of understanding of what was happening, denial that such a thing is possible in the 21st century, hope for a quick resolution of the conflict and apathy in the face of the knowledge that this is real and will not end quickly».
The first two months in Kharkiv Dima carried out humanitarian aid work with friends, bringing food and supplies to people in the hottest areas of the conflict. «I remember very well the ruins of the houses around me, the fires, the rockets, the tanks, the basements, the wounded and the dead». All this obviously affected his creativity, the way he represented the world in his works. «It’s hard to concentrate in the midst of bombs and warning sirens, but when you can, it’s as if you are tele-transporting yourself into your familiar world, into your comfort zone without any external aggression, reminding yourself of who you really are, what your mission is and that this war is just an episode in your life».
Art entered Dima’s life very early on. «I remember that even before I started school I started drawing and at 6-7 years old my mother sent me to drawing classes which I attended until I was 10 until I entered the public art school named after Shevchenko, specialising in painting». The artist feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to be an artist, to work for himself, within his own personal boundaries and time vision. That is why he cannot not do it. «That is my main role in this life: visualising thoughts». For Dima, art is also a psycho-neurosensitive stimulator and a relaxant that allows you to totally immerse yourself in the working environment, concentrating on the creative process and stabilising – as far as possible – the emotional background. «A kind of therapy one might say».
«My art is a reflection on the world around me, made up of observations and analysis of what happens. At different times in my life and under the influence of various factors, the subjects have naturally changed, but the main message that can be traced in my works is that the world is not as simple as it seems and any seemingly familiar thing, person or situation has many different meanings and facets of perception from which one can choose further development and interaction with it». Dima likes undirected surrealism, a representation of reality that has no clear and obvious meaning. In his works he plays a lot with optical illusions and everything that involves stress for the brain.
In the context of war, Dima’s art has also taken on a twofold purpose: on the one hand, to show how these events touch all sides of the lives of the people involved, including art. On the other, he was able to benefit from a material point of view: «Images turn into money, money into donations, donations are what the Ukrainian people need». Over the past year, he has participated in several European and American art projects to raise funds for his country. All sales of his works have gone to those in need, to help rebuild his homeland. «I think it is right to monetise art and help in this way».
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