Drawing by seven year old Ilya Music.


By Kateryna Music

Before the war, my husband Denis Music and I were involved in the development of the Ver- stak jewelry school in Kyiv. The project lasted only six months – two of them already during the war. For various reasons, this project is over. Denis is trying to continue his own jewelry practice. I'm working as a volunteer to support the Ukrainian jewelry community. I'm looking for opportunities for jewelers that motivate them to continue creating, take part in professional events, communicate, and see new prospects.

It is very difficult for artists in Ukraine to find meaning in their practice, but with each piece of art comes the understanding that art is a diplomatic language.

"Bucha" - Brooch, 2022, by Denis Music. Textile, tin box for children's lollipops. Photo: Denis Music.
Art is a weapon.
We need fear to save ourselves.
Art helps the artist survive extremely difficult emotions.

Ukrainian jewelry authors were touched by the fact that the world was interested in their stories. It gave us hope that our voice could be heard. We felt that we were not alone against a murderer. The exhibitions held thanks to the video festival SMCK On Reel became a meeting place where we looked into each other's eyes. We became a stronger source of support for each other. Your support has given us confidence that art can become a powerful tool in the struggle and help end the war soon. This war affects the whole world. We are very grateful to those who support us. You are the friends of Ukraine, you are a light for us, and we will always remember it.

Today, the jewelry community – and all art communities in Ukraine – are united and active as never before. This war prompts us to protect not only our territory, but also our culture and history.

The Russian aggressor seeks to erase Ukrainian culture. Therefore, almost every Ukrainian artist today has become obsessed with the country's history. We are rediscovering our culture through pain and suffering.

"Do you love the sea?"- video, 2022, by Kateryna Music for SMCK On Reel / Chain Of Solidarity Hamburg.


By Iryna Udovychenko

The gold and silver jewelry from different periods of history stored in our museum is a silent witness of the rich Ukrainian culture. Russians are trying to destroy our culture, to destroy our life, but we, Ukrainians, are a nation of strong people.

The most important values for us are freedom and independence. Everybody does whatever is possible for our victory. Ukrainian jewelers have become part of a cultural front in this war, and jewelry has become a weapon in this fight.

We are happy that Ukraine jewelers take part in the SMCK On Reel festival. We are grateful for your support. It gives us the power to continue our work and our fight. Alongside this SMCK On Reel event, we decided to hold this special exhibition of jewelry made by Ukrainian artists during this war. The thoughts and feelings of these artists are expressed in metal and stones – now and for ever.

Ukraine will win. Peace will return to our land; and I believe next time, our jewelers will tell happy stories of a happy Ukraine at SMCK On Reel.

* Welcoming speech at the opening of SMCK On Reel / Chain of Solidarity and the group exhibition Ukraine that is fighting held at the Treasury of the Museum of the History of Ukraine in Kyiv (20 October – 6 November 2022). Iryna Udovychenko is senior researcher at the Treasury of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine.


By Loukia Richards

Contemporary Ukrainian jewelry is "Wartime jewelry" and not "political jewelry" as it is often, falsely, described. Social movements inspire artists and designers to focus on topics or materials or techniques reflecting the experience of engaging, for instance with struggles for minorities' rights and representation, identity politics, rethinking social values or combatting bigotry, prejudices, and social conventions.

Contemporary Ukrainian jewelry is – directly or indirectly – reflecting Ukraine's struggle to defeat its aggressor. The war has already cost the lives of thousands of inno- cent and unarmed Ukrainian civilians, among whom children, and has left wounded or traumatized thousands more.

"Russian Friendship" - Brooch, 2022 by Tetiana Chorna. Zinc-coated steel. Piece of a fence from a territory bom- barded by Russia. Photo: T. Chorna.
This is not a civil movement or political activism, but the destruction of a country and its infrastructure accompanied by a propaganda war fought through faking facts or devaluating the authenticity of Ukrainian culture and Ukrainians' right to self determination.

Through its themes and concepts, Ukrainian jewelry unequivocally supports the fight for victory and liberation; it is outspokenly patriotic in its goals and aims through exhibitions, press promotion, and auctions to collect money for charities or for the army, and to raise awareness of the tragedy of the Ukrainian people and the international community's duty to punish the war criminals.

Many people in the West attribute a negative ideological connotation or a conservative orientation to the words patriotism, military, defense, nation. Ukrainian jewelry is often described by its authors and experts as an additional "weapon" – an instrument of communication and diplomacy highlighting the country's rich traditions and heritage.
Jewelry not only embodies the visual language and social values of the culture that it reflects; it is usually one of the few precious objects, both in the monetary and the emotional sense, that refugees carry with them as tokens of memories of better times and family heirlooms.

"Blood of Ukraine" Choker, 2022, by Vadym Mykolaenko. Photo: V. Mykolaenko.


By Stanislav Drokin

We cannot choose our homeland, but we are always striving to explore the world, to share our culture and art. Artists from some countries cannot move freely, unlike birds for which there are no borders. Artists are ambassadors, chosen by fate, carrying their creations and the culture of their people to the world. There should be no limits for art! The ring Nest (2018) is a one-of-a-kind piece. The author has developed his own technique for casting gold on titanium, a hybrid casting.

"Nest" titaurium ring, 2018, by Stanislav Drokin. Photo: S. Drokin.

INSTGRAM: Verstak School | Iryna Udovychenko | Loukia Richards | Stanislav Drokin