Since the outbreak of the War in Ukraine in February 2022, art and artists have played an essential role in both the conflict and the country’s active recovery. The country has rallied behind protecting Ukrainian art and cultural sites. Artwork has also helped educate the world about the events on the ground and helped the people of Ukraine heal from the trauma of the war with simple initiatives like covering up bullet holes with murals. Creators have also documented the war through art to raise awareness of the conflict to fundraise for governmental and humanitarian efforts.

As bullets continue to fly, innovation has been the key driver that has allowed Ukraine’s art scene to thrive. Exploiting these technologies offers countless opportunities to use digital platforms not just to raise awareness and funds but to influence. Using Blockchain to Preserve Art History In recent years, blockchain has emerged as a powerful tool for preserving and protecting digital
assets. And now, blockchain is preserving the history of Ukrainian art in response to the threat posed by the destruction of cultural sites by the Russian military. Early in the conflict, UNESCO
in April reported that Russia had already damaged over 50 Ukrainian sites of cultural significance noting a need to protect Ukrainian culture both for its historical value and as a
symbol of hope for the future.

(Piece created by Artist Mark Bushuiev based on the March 10, 2022 Tweet from @UkrArmyBlog discussing the defeat of a Russian Military unit in Brovary, Ukraine)


In mid-June, Michael Chobanian, the President of the Blockchain Association of Ukraine, announced that Ukraine plans to digitize as many pieces of art as possible. This effort is being spearheaded by Ukraine’s blockchain community and is not a government initiative. Given that Ukraine has already raised close to $150 million via crypto and blockchain to finance its defense
against Russia, this project is a logical diversification of the technology. Using blockchain, the project will create a permanent and tamper-proof record of Ukrainian artworks, making it easier
to track and protect them. This is a potentially game-changing use of blockchain technology, and it could have a huge impact on the preservation of Ukrainian art and culture. The blockchain community is not starting from scratch as in March, a National NFT (or Non-Fungible Tokens) Platform called the Meta History: Museum of War supported by the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine was launched as “Russia uses tanks to destroy Ukraine, we rely on revolutionary blockchain tech…to keep the memory of war. And the place to celebrate the Ukrainian identity and freedom.”  The museum was created to commemorate the history of the current events in Ukraine, preserve the truth, and collect donations for humanitarian aid.
They note that they want to change the role of art in society –”it must be relevant, courageous,

As of late July 2022, the Museum has donated over $1,000,000 to Ukraine’s Armed Forces. As background, the Museum boasts two key projects to fund a charity. The first project is termed
“Warline” and it’s a collection of art in a chronological order of events featuring a real news piece and then adorned by artists, both Ukrainian and international, adding a perspective as to their personal take on the news piece during that specific moment in time.


(Piece created by Artist Anastasiya Samarkina from when @DmytroKuleba tweeted on March 9, 2022, after a Russian air strike targeted a hospital and a maternity ward)


The Museum’s second project is coined “Avatars for Ukraine” and is a collection of digital art to show the strength and spirit of Ukrainians during wartime starting with World War Two.


(Piece created by Artist IlonaDesignArt after the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine announced on February 24, 2022 that Snake Island was attacked by Russian Military ships)


Generating AI-Created Art to Fundraise

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become increasingly sophisticated, so why not use it to create art. In Ukraine, they are doing just that by using a technology that extracts visual information from
news articles to then generates a piece of art based on this data. This provides a unique and compelling way to visualize the War in Ukraine and is a key technology to employ in a crisis as traditional means of news gathering and dissemination can be disrupted. The medium also offers a way to incorporate smaller snippets and disparate information, as shared on social media, to
combine into a clearer picture.


(Sold piece of art titled: Azovstal)


The Sirens Gallery is using a neural network to generate artworks depicting 150 important events in the timeline of the Russian war against Ukraine. 1,991 pieces of art–an ode to the year 1991
when Ukraine officially declared itself a free nation–will be exhibited and available for purchase. All proceeds from the gallery are earmarked to support the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.


(Day 1: From Sirens Gallery: Ghost of Kyiv. On February 24th, Russians tried to achieve aerialsupremacy over the Ukrainian forces. Enemy fighters were flying over Ukrainian cities. During all this, information about a Ukrainian pilot single-handedly taking down multiple Russian jets appeared on social media. The heroic pilot, nicknamed the “Ghost of Kyiv,” was claimed to have won numerous air battles in the sky of Kyiv. Eventually, the Ukrainian military stated that the Ghost of Kyiv is a collective image of the pilots of the 40th Tactical Aviation Brigade of the Air Force, which protects the capital’s sky.)


(Day 1: From Sirens Gallery: The Russian army is the first marauding army in the World. In the territory of Ukraine, the Russian army not only committed war crimes but also resorted to looting. There are numerous reports about Russians stealing not only jewelry, mobile phones, and laptops, but also clothes and household goods, such as washing machines and toilets. Because of this, Ukrainians started to call Russian soldiers the “First marauding army in the World.”)



Disseminating NFTs to Influence Wars

As evidenced herein, NFTs have been making waves in the world of art and digital art in particular. By tokenizing art, artists and collectors can now purchase, sell, and trade art in a whole new way even when stuck in the middle of a warzone. But what if NFTs were used for more than just art? What if someone chose to use them to influence the outcome of wars?

In war, art has long been used as propaganda to spread a certain message or perspective. However, with the recent rise of NFTs, one could create a new form of propaganda that is more resistant to censorship and manipulation. As NFTs are digital assets stored on a blockchain making them nearly impossible to counterfeit or delete–this would allow us to create art that cannot be censored or manipulated, which would be a powerful tool for spreading a message during times of war.


(Sold piece of art titled: Welcome to Free Ukraine)

Using the War in Ukraine as an example, NFTs are already being used by the Government of Ukraine to combat Russian disinformation; therefore, could easily be used to spread messages of
support for a particular side in the conflict or to rally people to activism inside and outside of its borders. Of course, there are some challenges that would need to be overcome before this could
be implemented effectively and in a measurable fashion, but it is an intriguing idea that could have a major impact on the way we spread information during times of conflict. With the right strategy, NFTs have the ability to change the course of history in this war or the next.

The use of art has long been employed in warfare as a means of propaganda, spreading morale, and of communicating messages to both allies and enemies, and as showcased now, a way to
crowdfund in a crisis. By digitizing artwork as it relates to the crisis, the influence generated from the art can be spread across the virtual world–that is where "activist" comes into play.
Ukrainian artists are leading the way in this effort, their work is making a difference, and these initiatives will be creating a permanent effort, offering generations to experience the real truth of
the war on the ground. The War in Ukraine will continue to advance innovation in a variety of fields, and when it comes to art, we are here for it. The use of art in the war in Ukraine shows
that even in the darkest of times, art can still be a force for good.

(Day 10: From Sirens Gallery: Ukrainian tractor drivers steal enemy tanks. Even Ukrainian farmers are fighting the Russian occupiers. They tow Russian vehicles using tractors and steal enemy tanks and anti-aircraft missile systems, promising from now to use them for good deeds as the sowing period has begun. It’s hard to say exactly how much equipment was stolen. But Ukrainian police still confiscate tanks from civilians in different parts of the country.)


Sarah Adams Sarah Adams is an award-winning targeting officer and global threat advisor with extensive domestic and international experience. Previously, Ms. Adams held positions in the government and non-profit sectors and has worked overseas on behalf of the U.S. Government’s intelligence mission in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.