Artist Miyazaki Kensuke has completed murals over the world. Through the creation of these wall paintings in cooperation with local people, he came to realize the great possibilities that could be achieved. This convinced him to found “Over the Wall,” a global project that helps regions facing various difficulties and, in particular, the children that reside there. In addition to creating murals across the globe, Over the Wall also aims to connect the world through art, such as by facilitating cultural exchange workshops between Japanese and each country’s local children.
The city of Mariupol, located in the eastern part of Ukraine, has accepted a generous number of internally displaced people (IDPs) since the 2014 crisis concerning the Ukrainian border with Russia, and the municipality is very devoted to diversity and restoration of peace. In July 2016, the city council voted in favor of adopting the declaration of “City of Solidarity” in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The municipality is very devoted to diversity and peace restoration. Further, 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between Japan and Ukraine, and the Ukraine government has in fact decreed this year as the Year of Friendship with Japan, with various activities being launched. Over the Wall, reflecting this theme of solidarity and peace, has been invited by the city of Mariupol to draw a wall painting on walls damaged by the military conflict. The aim is to bring oppressed persons, including IDPs, and the Mariupol citizens together to participate in creating murals. This particular Over the Wall project will see the completion of wall paintings in 2 locations, including in Mariupol, as well as a number of art workshops being held.
By picking up brushes and working alongside the local people to create art on public buildings, Over the Wall aims at healing the hearts of the IDPs, and to complete wall paintings that can become a symbol of friendship between Japan and Ukraine. Cultural exchange sessions based on art classes with Japanese and Ukrainian children will also help build mutual understanding. Finally, Over the Wall regards the maintenance of the paintings as an opportunity to continually deepen friendships over the near and far future. Therefore, the artworks can take on a symbolic role in forging lasting relationships.
Over the Wall plans to draw two wall paintings in Mariupol and Kiev. The one in Mariupol will be located at School No.68 and will measure 8 by 12 metres. IDPs and the local residents will then be invited to finish the murals with cheerful painting to convey a message of peace and solidarity.
Art-zavod Platforma, an art complex in Kiev
The theme for the mural comes from Ukraine’s classic national folk story, “The Mitten.” This tale, also very well known in Japan, is about a number of animals who find a mitten one cold, snowy day, and all of them seek refuge inside. To each newly arrived animal, the ones inside give a generous welcome, even in such a tiny space, and all of them get to share the warm mitten. Over the Wall chose this theme because its message very much resonates with the same sense of solidarity and peace which the City of Mariupol holds in its declaration as a “City of Solidarity.”
Inside this mitten on the drawing are Ukrainians from all regions of the country, including Podolia and the Carpathians, as well as people from other parts of the world. In the palm of the mitten sit the famous Ukrainian Easter Eggs, and some chicks are hatching out due to the warmth being given out. The message conveyed in this draft is that the compassion of people hatches eggs of hope and makes the way for the future.
We will connect Japan with Kiev and Mariupol via Skype.
Using drawings sketched by the participants, we will communicate over the customs of living and culture of Japan with the Ukrainian students and vais versa.
Art flag exchanged from the kids in Okinawa, Japan to those in East Timor
Art flag exchanged from the kids in Kenya to those in Aarakawa-ku, Tokyo
Communicating via Skype on the scene
Using art supplies kindly donated by the sponsor Sakura Color Products Corp, art lectures will be given by Kensuke Miyazaki to students in Mariupol and Kiev. The students will freely draw whatever they like and prizes will be awarded to particularly creative pieces. Their drawings will be exhibited later in Kiev and Japan.
A ceremony will be held to celebrate the completion of our murals with the local residents. Together with the contributors to the work, municipal personnel, and citizens, we will hold an opening reception to reveal the wall paintings that symbolize the strong bond between Japan and Ukraine.
*Schedule above is subject to change depending on local circumstances
UNHCR Representation in Ukraine
Under the auspice of Embassy of Japan in Ukraine
International Affairs Division of Saga Prefecture
the City of Mariupol
School No.68 in Mariupol and Art-zavod Platforma in Kiev
The TOKYO CLUB
Etsuko Chida / UNHCR Ukraine
Kawaguchi Art Gallery ATLIA / for exhibition space
Saga Prefecture International Relations Association Plaza / for exhibition space
© Over the Wall