Exhibit showcasing Ukrainian art opens in downtown Austin

A new art exhibition is open in downtown Austin showcasing the art of many Ukrainian artists still in the country during the war.

"All the artists that you can see here are still in Ukraine, and then they continue to create under the bombs," said Helen Labartkava-Verdi with UART Gallery.

Every piece in the exhibit was created by Ukrainian artists still fighting for Ukraine, through art.

"Share brave messages to the world that we're still here, that we're still alive, that we still want to live," said Labartkava-Verdi.

This exhibit is called "Brave Art" and it can be found in La Pena Gallery. The idea came from Helen Labartkava-Verdi and her husband when they were spending most of their days hiding out in a bomb shelter in Ukraine.

"You are really getting crazy because you are sitting there about 17 hours every day and the only thing that you can do is just pray that you will not get a bomb when you are in your home," she said.

The couple wanted to concentrate on the future through art. Within a month, they managed to collect art from 50 Ukrainian artists and send those prints digitally from their bomb shelter in Ukraine to an art collector in New York to be printed and displayed.

"We managed to open the first exhibition in New York while we were sitting in the bomb shelter," said Labartkava-Verdi.

However, that was not enough for Labartkava-Verdi. She and her husband took a bus out of Ukraine and eventually made it to Austin to continue sharing the art of Ukrainian artists.

"Every day you wake up, and you understand that it's possible that you will die, and it will be your last day, so you should do something really strong in your life. This is why we created this project," said Labartkava-Verdi.

The project has grown to include 100 Ukrainian artists with their art being displayed in places around the world including Italy, Israel, New York, Houston, and Austin.

Currently, 20 artists are displayed downtown in hopes of sharing a message: the fight is not over, it continues.