Independence Square artworks have been increasing in scale lately. We had another confirmation of this trend a few days ago, when French artist preferring to call himself Roti presented to Kyivites his sculptural composition New Ukraine.
Roti was born in the French city of Annecy, located on the Swiss border, and worked in New York, Paris, and London. His mother is French and his father came from Iraq, both are sculptors, but their son first claim to fame was as a street artist who creates murals, legally and otherwise.
Actually, Roti first visited Ukraine as a street artist, when invited to the GogolFest in September 2013. The visit left an impressive mural on the wall of one of the shops of the Experimental Mechanical Plant in Kyiv, the GogolFest’s venue. The mural, done in black and white, pictures the story of creation in exquisite detail.
This time, Roti came to this country shortly after the start of Ukrainian uprising and spent three weeks here. Upon arrival, he took part in a charity auction to support the online TV channel Hromadske.tv on December 26, offering his Kyiv-created painting The Square as a lot.
New Ukraine is actually the result of a three-week on-site effort by the artist. The sculpture is a relief of artificial pink marble two meters long and one meter wide. It shows human face, hands and feet emerging from the boulder, as the artist, apparently, depicted the new Ukraine waking from a heavy stony sleep, beginning to rebel, to break out of the dictatorship boulder to freedom.
The sculpture’s erection was transformed into a performance of its own, as all-women band Dakh Daughters walked through the square from barricades in Mykhailivska Street to the beginning of Instytutska Street singing carols and followed by a truck carrying the sculpture. Roti placed his slightly infernal-looking composition there by the sidewalk, accompanied by loud singing of Dakh Daughters all the while. The sculpture immediately aroused great interest among the square’s regulars.
Thus, Independence Square got another confirmation of its transformation into a separate, autonomous territory, which now has not only its own economy, police force and laws, but its own monumental art as well.