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Ninth Muse students helping spread ‘Sunflowers for Ukraine’

By Chelsi Lasater - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Apr 29, 2022
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Sunflower painting by artist Joanne Hall, who is participating in Sunflowers for Ukraine on May 6 at The Monarch.
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Ninth Muse Academy students pose with their artwork that they donated to Sunflowers for Ukraine on May 6 at The Monarch.
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Ninth Muse Academy students pose with their artwork that they donated to Sunflowers for Ukraine on May 6 at The Monarch.
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Ninth Muse Academy students pose with their artwork that they donated to Sunflowers for Ukraine on May 6 at The Monarch.
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Ninth Muse Academy students pose with their artwork that they donated to Sunflowers for Ukraine on May 6 at The Monarch.
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Ninth Muse Academy students pose with their artwork that they donated to Sunflowers for Ukraine on May 6 at The Monarch.
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Ninth Muse Academy students pose with their artwork that they donated to Sunflowers for Ukraine on May 6 at The Monarch.

On May 6, artist and head of Ninth Muse Academy, Sarah Abagulum, is hoping to fill The Monarch with “Sunflowers for Ukraine.”

Over the past few weeks, sunflowers have been popping up everywhere as symbols of hope, peace, and support for Ukraine. From paintings, emojis, clothing and actual flowers, peace demonstrators and world leaders have taken the sunflower as their mascot for standing with Ukraine.

Popularity rose when a viral video was aired by Ukraine World on Feb. 24, the first day of the invasion. The video shows a Ukrainian woman in the southern port city of Henychesk giving sunflower seeds to armed Russian soldiers to put in their pockets. “Take these seeds so that sunflowers grow here when you die,” she says, per a translation by BBC News.

Sunflowers have long been a symbol of prosperity in Ukraine, as the country produces 70%-80% of the world’s exports in seeds, oil and the flowers themselves. They are ever present in festivals and celebrations, and grace the beautiful land with their fields.

They have also been symbols of peace in Ukraine even before recent attacks. As Olivia B. Waxman writes for Time, the flower has historically represented peace. In June 1996, ministers from the United States, Russia and Ukraine marked Ukraine’s nuclear weapon disarmament by planting sunflowers at the Pervomaysk missile base. As U.S. Defense Secretary William J. Perry said at the ceremony, per the Washington Post’s James Rupert, the three nations’ shared goal was “ensuring that our children and our grandchildren will live in peace.”

Over 40 students of the Ninth Muse Academy have been painting sunflowers in the past several weeks, hoping to raise money to help relieve the suffering of countless refugees and others in this war. Their works will be sold during Open Studio Night at The Monarch.

Other Monarch artists are selling paintings as well. So far, participating artists include Adriana Moore, mixed media and metalsmith; Robbin Daffin, floral designer; Joanne Hall, watercolorist; Susan Snyder, watercolorist; Chelbie Hunger; Kseniya Thomas, letterpress artist; and students of Ninth Muse Academy.

All proceeds will go directly to UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to support refugee children from Ukraine.

All local artists are invited to participate. The deadline to drop off your work at the Ninth Muse Academy is May 3. Artwork will be sold during Open Studio Night along with the other artists.

The Sunflowers for Ukraine art show and fundraiser will be at The Monarch on May 6 during Ogden’s First Friday Art Stroll from 7-9 p.m. Cash donations will also be accepted.

To join forces with the effort and submit artwork, visit 9thmuse.art.

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