Ukrainian Artist Creates Gigantic Putin Portrait Using 5,000 Bullet Shells

Daria Marchenko creates a portrait of Vladimir Putin from bullet shells. Photo: Sergei Supinsky, courtesy AFP.
Daria Marchenko creates a portrait of Vladimir Putin from bullet shells. Photo: Sergei Supinsky, courtesy AFP.

Ukrainian artist Dariya Marchenko created a portrait of Russian president Vladimir Putin from bullet shells. The nearly seven-foot-tall work, titled The Face of War, is made from no less than 5,000 spent cartridges from eastern Ukraine.

“Sleeping in the same room with him was a bit scary at first,” Marchenko told Agence France-Presse (AFP), via Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The portrait is the first piece in a planned series titled “The Five Elements of War.”

Like Ukraine’s Izolyatsia Center, which mocked official Russian statements that Russian soldiers taking part in the fighting in Ukraine were simply “on vacation” with a vacation sweepstakes and pavilion occupation at the Venice Biennale, Marchenko believes Putin is complicit in the war that has torn her country apart.

“To me, this war is different from all others because it is built on a lie,” the 33-year-old artist and graphic designer told AFP.

While Putin does have his fansincluding Russian artists who endorsed their country’s annexation of Crimea, Marchenko is far from the only artist to create work that criticizes the Russian leader. In May, an anonymous Latvian artist crucified a Putin puppet, and the former Pussy Riot members remain outspoken Putin detractors.

To accompany her work, Marchenko has reportedly compiled a book of personal stories from the front lines of the Ukrainian conflict, interviewing those who helped her collect the cartridges that make up the piece.

Some shells came from her boyfriend, who was there when president Viktor Yanukovych was forced to abdicate and flee the country this past spring, but many come from friends still engaged in the ongoing conflict.

“A bullet shell is a symbol of an interrupted life,” she told AFP. “The world does not realize just how much my country has lost.”

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