Portrait of Ukraine on the wall of the former “House of Moscow” in Vilnius

Portrait of Ukraine on the wall of the former “House of Moscow” in Vilnius

Portrait Ukraine on the wall of the former

  Portrait of Ukraine on the wall of the former «House of Moscow» in Vilnius

The joint Lithuanian-Estonian-Ukrainian art action received the informal name «Bayraktar from artists»

In the center of Vilnius, not far from the so-called “City”, on Saturday evening, July 30, it was busy. The creators of the mural called “#DoPeremogi” (Before Victory) came to meet with the townspeople, tourists and the press.

An artistic canvas with an area of ​​more than 200 square meters adorned the wall of the so-called “House of Moscow” the day before – the construction of which was started at the initiative of Yuri Luzhkov, but was never completed. In recent years it has fallen into disrepair, homeless people have occasionally lived in it.

The Dom Moskvy unexpectedly got into newsfeeds immediately after the well-known incident near Zmeiny Island. The words of the Ukrainian border guard then spread around the world and became a meme. And it was this phrase that unknown people wrote on the roof of the unfinished building.

A group of artists from Lithuania, Estonia and Ukraine decided to use the space of a blank wall and remind once again about Russian aggression and the unbending will of the Ukrainian people.

The Vilnius authorities have given permission to create a fresco. However, there were also those who called the police, who not only came to the place of the action, but even installed a surveillance camera so that potential vandals would not be able to cause harm.

“The building that was supposed to become symbol of the power of Russia, will be turned into a symbol of the power and courage of Ukraine”

Journalist and activist Sarunas Cerniauskas (Šarūnas Černiauskas) told the correspondent of the Voice of America Russian Service that the idea to make a mural came up during a home conversation. “When the war began, my wife thought a lot about what could be done by the forces of art in order to somehow speak out on this topic. There were many different ideas, and then we went to an exhibition of photographs from Zaporozhye. And there we saw a few photos that we just fell in love with. We got in touch with the photographer, and immediately chose this photo, because it seemed to us the most powerful. We started to organize the work. We contacted the wonderful guys from Estonia, who are the only ones in the world who can do this, because they created this robot artist. He even has a name – Albert.”

When asked how the site for this project was chosen, Sarunas Cerniauskas replied: “Because it is the so-called “House of Moscow”. This building was to become a symbol of the influence and greatness of Russia. But construction stalled in 2014 after the occupation of Crimea. And in 2021, the court decided that the building is illegal – it doesn’t even exist on paper! Legally, there is no building here. And we decided that this building, which was supposed to be a symbol of Russia's might, will be turned into a symbol of Ukraine's might and courage.”

Lithuanian artist and author of the mural idea Lina Šlipavičiūtė specifies that the leading role in this case belongs to the photographer from Ukraine Elena Tita. The mural, 27 meters high, depicts a young Ukrainian woman, Tatyana Drobotya, who, as a volunteer of the Charitable Foundation “Volunteer Center "Palyanitsya"” works to provide the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with everything they need.

Portrait of Ukraine on the wall of the former House of Moscow in Vilnius

Photographer Elena Tita

“This photo shoot turned out quite spontaneously. Elena said that she came to the workshop where volunteers worked. And at that moment, someone brought national Ukrainian costumes to the workshop, and then a proposal arose for the workers to put on bright national dresses and decorate their heads with wreaths. It turned out as if the shooting was done in a studio, but in fact, it was all in the workshop, which can be seen from some details in the background. The picture shows that Tatyana is a very strong girl, and we are very impressed, we decided that such a picture would be a good symbol,” says Lina Shlipavichyute.

Elena Tita granted the authors of the frescoes the right to use her photograph free of charge, and the Lithuanians collected money for the project through crowdfunding. “People responded very quickly – in less than five days, we already had the necessary amount of 13,000 euros. This money went to paints, and to the purchase of a robot (which covered the wall with paint), and a computer program for it,” the artist explained.

Portrait of Ukraine on the wall of the former

Model Tatyana Drobotya

It is no coincidence that the giant fresco on the wall of the “House of Moscow” in Vilnius has already been nicknamed “Bayraktar from artists.” This means that the Lithuanian-Estonian project is the same gift to Ukraine and an expression of solidarity with the country defending its independence and territorial integrity, which was the Turkish drone at the beginning of this summer, for which the Lithuanians also collected money “from the whole world.”< br />
Photographer Elena Tita admitted that she did not really believe what was happening. “I have only been a photographer for a year, I am a beginner. But during the war, I already had two international exhibitions, this fresco-mural, and now a documentary is being filmed. All this happens so quickly that there is only enough time to understand that these are some signs that tell you that you are doing the right things,” Elena said.

It all started with the exhibition, where photos taken by Elena. “And everything somehow went on, the flywheel began to spin, and now we are ready to do anything to evoke empathy in different countries, so that Ukraine is supported and understood what horror is actually happening now,” the photographer continues his story.
< br /> Estonian artist and operator of the Albert robot Mihkel Joala spoke about the technical side of the project.

Portrait of Ukraine on the wall of the former

Artist Mihkel Yoala

The robot weighs about 50 kilograms, is suspended on cables and controlled by a computer. Printing is done from bottom to top along the strips, according to the developed program. “There are 5 colors. I used 3 primary colors: yellow, blue and red. In addition, there is black and white. 150 bottles of paint, 450 ml each, were used to create the fresco,” the artist said.

“I started work at 8 am and finished at 9-10 pm, so about 14 hours of direct printing. Although I had to stop while it was raining and wait for the wall to dry a little. It's quite a long time, but if you compare it to how long an artist takes to work on a drawing of this size by hand, it could take a week or even two. It took me only one day,” says Yoala.

It should be noted that the Albert robot was commissioned by Elon Musk himself. Last fall, he was hired to work on the facade of the Tesla Gigafactory in Germany.

Tatyana Drobotya herself came to the official opening of the fresco on the wall of the former House of Moscow. Those present surrounded her, took pictures, asked questions, conveyed their wishes of victory to the soldiers of Ukraine.

During a brief conversation with a Voice of America Russian service correspondent, Tatyana said: “When I saw my image 27 meters high, I experienced childish delight. Because when I was little, and they asked me what I want to be, I always answered: “Supermodel.” After all, I grew up in the 90s, and then there was the time of Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford, and it is clear that they were superstars. And I remember very well that I always used the prefix “super”, that is, I want to be not just a model, but a supermodel. But I didn’t make a career in this area, because my mother said that you need to study, get a serious education, and I received such an education in Ukraine and in England, and in general, I am a very serious person. But now, when I saw my image on this wall, I understood. that my childhood dream came true and I truly became a supermodel in every sense of the word.”

A photo of Tatyana Drobotya on the wall of the House of Moscow in Vilnius has gained popularity on the Internet. In addition, a postcard with a view of this fresco has already been published. There is no doubt that the picture will reach Russian users. When asked what she would like to say to the citizens of the Russian Federation in this regard, Tatyana replied: “Even before the official opening, there were a lot of questions: why is a girl depicted on the fresco, and not a warrior, not children, not someone else? And I decided for myself that this photo depicts Ukraine. And I'll explain why.”

Portrait of Ukraine on the wall of the former

Artist Lina Shlipavichyute

“We are about the same age with independent Ukraine,” Tatiana says. – Secondly, Ukraine, as a woman, is peaceful, she has never attacked anyone first. Ukraine, like any fragile, beautiful woman, needs the help of strong men, the support of others, which I see in Lithuania. And here you can draw an allegory with countries that help Ukraine with weapons, money, and so on. And all these allegories permeate this photo, and it just so happens that my image embodies all of that. And most importantly, the photographer Lena, when she took this picture, said that she saw defiance in my eyes, and this is what the people of Ukraine showed. At the beginning of the war, we had nothing – I myself am from Zaporozhye, and since the first day of Russian aggression I have been there all the time, and now I have left (Ukraine) for the first time. And if there was no such occasion, I would not have left. I did not plan any vacation, and for five months I have been working at the volunteer headquarters as a media worker. And now all the factors have coincided, thanks to which you can see a small image of Ukraine in this photo, and I was lucky that it was me. How will the Russians feel? I think it all depends on the level of empathy. I have friends who are very sincerely worried about us. From my city of Zaporozhye to the front line, 40 kilometers, we hear artillery at night. I can hear the sound – the projectile flies out, or flies in, we are already used to this. My friends write: “Tanya, isn't it time to evacuate?” I don't want to judge people badly just by what kind of passport they have. I think that all the people who have a heart now understand that something terrible is happening. That's all I can say.”

Even if the House of Moscow itself is demolished, as the city authorities suggest, the unique fresco will not perish. The design is applied to the facing plates, which can be removed, numbered, moved to another location, and then reassembled.