Maui Arts & Entertainment

Sculptures inspired by Ukrainians’ resilience and Czech hedgehog unveiled at Pāʻia gallery

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Mark Zaref’s Defiance sculptures were derived from the “Czech Hedgehog” that was a simple, yet effective wartime structure to block tanks and armored vehicles.

Marc Zarefʻs sculptures, Defiance! A Ukrainian Solidarity Project, will be unveiled at the Art Project Pāʻia gallery during a group show on June 24.

Defiance is inspired by the resilience and courage of the citizens of Ukraine, as well as Zaref’s grandparents’ stories of how they escaped from Kiev and Odessa in 1918 soon after the Bolsheviks invaded the region. It is a series of sculptures that symbolize their resistance and the free world’s support of solidarity.

“As an artist, I am grateful to have the ability to contribute a visual voice bringing attention to the Ukrainian people and their plight to defend their home and democracy,” said New York-born Zaref, who received his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design and studied at the Art Students League of New York, Center for Metal Arts and the Silvermine School of Art.

The form, derived from the “Czech Hedgehog” (most commonly seen in historic WWII images on the beaches of Normandy), is a simple, yet effective wartime structure meant as an obstacle to block tanks and armored vehicles.

Marc Zaref

With three elements to support one another, Zaref chose the colors of the Ukrainian flag — yellow (gold) and blue—and white as a symbolic element of international support and world peace.

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Engineered for expedited fabrication and acquisition of materials, the sculptures are installed as single or multiple units in either interior or exterior environments.

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Zaref created smaller versions at lower prices of Defiance for Art Project Pāʻia, a multidisciplinary gallery at 77 Hāna Highway that represents up-and-coming and established international, mainland and local artists with a distinct Hawaiian sensitivity.

The group show at the Art Project Pāʻia gallery begins at 6 p.m. with pupus being served. A band begins playing around 7 p.m.

The sculptures honoring Ukrainian solidarity are made of steel and paint, and created in unique editions and sizes ranging from 7 to 20 inches. They will be available for purchase at the gallery with prices ranging from $500 – $3,000. The unique editions are also available for purchase online.

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A portion of the sales will go to the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, the largest Ukrainian women’s organization in the United States whose mission is to promote and develop educational and cultural efforts and provide humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians worldwide.

“The work is a symbol of our times, the symbol of resistance against oppression and the importance of freedom,” said Tatiana Botton, owner of Art Project Pāʻia. “Everyone who is against this war should want to display Marc Zaref’s work, at home or at their office. It’s an honor to represent Marc and his Defiance Project.”

To learn more about the Ukrainian Solidarity Project, view Zaref’s work, CV and / or experience his studio, visit MarcZaref.com.

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