United Artists for Ukraine: a sale of NFT for the benefit of Ukrainian cultural institutions

A Sunday evening at the Institute of the Arab World. On the ninth floor of the institution, a hundred people are busy, bathed in yellow and blue lights. The Franco-English think-tank Hexagon Society is organizing a launch party for the new operation of United Artists. Born in 2019 at the instigation of its president Sophie Wiesenfeld, this collective made up of curators, artists, gallery owners and art specialists aims to “help cultural projects stopped because of political, climatic, social changes, and, in the worst cases, because of of a war that is breaking out,” she explains. Three years ago, United Artists for Europe came to the rescue of cultural initiatives that had suffered from the end of partnerships between Europe and the United Kingdom because of Brexit. Supported by intellectual and influential personalities like the writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, the art dealer and gallery owner Thaddaeus Ropac or even the auctioneer Simon de Pury, this operation has borne fruit in renewing and saving several artistic collaborations in coming.

Support from all over the world

NFT artwork by Iryna Ozarinskaya for United Artists for Ukraine.

Iryna Ozarinskaya / United Artists for Ukraine

“We decided to repeat for Ukrainian cultural institutions, with a sale based on NFTs,” says Sophie Wiesenfeld. Concretely, Hexagon Society has partnered with LaCollection to organize the sale of a series of thirty NFTs by establishing a United Artist membership system. For an NFT – a “card”, in the format of a unique digital token – purchased, the holder will have access to exclusive advantages within the art world. To make the idea appealing, the organizers called on prestigious names: Marina Abramovic, Ron Arad, Emmanuel Perrotin, Opera Gallery, Douglas Gordon…and to specialist media titles like Purple Magazine Where The Art Newspaper. All of them offer holders of an NFT purchased as part of the sale of encounters exclusive access to their workshops, to artistic events… Ukraine, develops the president of Hexagon Society. We opted for a system of membership, beyond borders. Workshop visits, meetings and more previews organized for buyers will take place in the four corners of the world because the artists and gallery owners who collaborate with us have spaces everywhere. In New York, Shanghai, Seoul, Miami, Singapore…”

In Ukraine, museums are seen as infrastructure to be destroyed by Russian forces. Young Ukrainian artists are deprived of opportunities to pursue their careers, monuments are looted… According to UNESCO, more than 150 cultural sites have been degraded or destroyed, including around twenty cultural centers and around fifteen museums . For United Artists for Ukraine, the coordination with the beneficiaries was carried out by Regina Maryanovska-Davidzon. Of Ukrainian origin, this producer worked with the think-tank to define the structures that would receive the money from the sale. Among them, the organization Docu/Help which helps Ukrainian filmmakers, the National Museum of Art in kyiv, the Museum of Fine Arts in Odessa, the foundation of the Ukrainian Cultural Institute… The evening organized at the Institute in the Arab world aims to promote and accelerate the sale so that they perceive the product as quickly as possible.

Defending democracy through art

The former Minister of Culture Jack Lang gladly hosted the event at the Institut du Monde arabe, which he presides and which he founded, 1980. Present to discuss with the collectors present at the launch party and to deliver a speech, he welcomes the initiative launched by Hexagon Society: “Defending Ukraine is also defending ourselves. It is to defend the right of peoples to self-determination and democracy. The initiators of the sale have succeeded in mobilizing leading personalities who will make a substantial moral, intellectual and material contribution. At the crossroads of art, politics and humanitarian commitment, United Artists for Ukraine combines many of its commitments: “Art sales are a very beautiful, simple and effective way to help institutions cultural. What Vladimir Putin does flouts everything I teach my law students and tonight we have new proof that art can have a role to play in avoiding the worst and saving people. »

The same evening, the “silent sale” was closed: it allowed to buy the NFT cards giving access to the most privileged status, says legendary. Buyers will be able to “be part of the board of United Artists” and benefit from prestigious advantages in the artistic community, enthuses Katie Kennedy, the director of partnerships of LaCollection. “Until December 31, the sale continues at the prices fixed until then. It’s a first prize, in a way. It will increase at the beginning of next year. »

NFT artwork by Iryna Ozarinskaya for United Artists for Ukraine.

Iryna Ozarinskaya / United Artists for Ukraine

For the moment, count between 500 and 1000 euros to offer you the portraits of famous artists designed especially for sale by Iryna Ozarinskaya. This Ukrainian artist has imagined a series of cards in the image of artistic geniuses, from Leonardo da Vinci to Niki de Saint Phalle. Their faces and their expressions, represented in an ultra-realistic way, are colored with bright and contrasting hues, representative of the artist’s work. “It’s a magical story for me,” says Iryna Ozarinskaya. Three months ago, I was invited to participate in a contest. For a month, I devoted myself to this project, to offer the organizers a series of cards. And I was chosen! Based in Venice, she is still closely linked to her Ukrainian roots. “I have exhibited in some of the institutions that will benefit from the sale. I know the others, the artists and the teams of the museums and galleries on site. It is very strong for me to have been able to use this project to help them”.

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