“These prints are very emotionally charged for me, but also have a positivity that I think is important to share,” says the artist of the month-long event, which is raising funds for the Future Youth Project
Cult artist Vinca Petersen and London-based gallery Edel Assanti have joined forces to launch a fundraising event in aid of Ukraine. The month-long online exhibition, print sale and show – which takes place on May 4 – promises performances from Sophie Barker, Mostar Diving Club, and Gunville Flats featuring Harriet James. The event will be raising funds for Future Youth Project (FYP), a small direct action organisation that was first founded by Petersen and friend Clare Cameron in 2010. Described by the artist as “a small model for great change”, the youth-focused charity has run humanitarian projects in Ukraine since its inception. This event will focus on vulnerable people affected by the ongoing war with Russia, and funds will be split between FYP and its sister organisation in Ukraine, Happy Child Foundation.
“I have been travelling to Ukraine since 2000, when I first drove a 7.5-ton lorry there full of aid for people living in the shadow of the Chernobyl disaster,” Petersen tells AnOther. “In 2010, we found a group of disabled adults and children languishing in a remote institute in South-Eastern Ukraine and decided to help them specifically. A close friend and I created Future Youth Project (FYP) – a registered charity founded on the principle of reciprocal giving. We have driven the FYP minibus to Ukraine three times and visited many other times, taking the volunteers who want to work with us on physical and emotional journeys, whilst simultaneously helping those in the institute.”
The images featured in the print sale – which are available in a special run of 20 of each photograph, all priced at £200 – were taken during Petersen’s multiple trips to Ukraine, and capture the country’s “warm, welcoming and wonderfully idiosyncratic” people and regions. “Underpinning this [fundraiser] is my personal, ever-growing love for a country and its people, who I find both emotionally in touch and strong; who share my appreciation of collectivity, the importance of nature and humour,” the artist says of her special connection to Ukraine.
Petersen’s charity has been working alongside the Happy Child Foundation for 12 years. “Since the war broke out we have been in contact with our friends and colleagues out there,” she says. “We managed to help some of them undertake the arduous journey to safety outside of Ukraine but they are now focused on helping those left behind. Together we are sending essential aid to our foster families and other families out there who we know who are struggling to find basic supplies.”
The artist is hoping the fundraiser will provide a much-needed boost for FYP and the Happy Child Foundation in the face of the devastation caused by the war. “FYP has enjoyed the support of many people over the years, and amongst our friends we have such talented musicians that it was obvious we could put together an evening of fun and solidarity to help our Ukrainian friends,” says Petersen. “When my gallery Edel Assanti offered their brand new space for us to use, it made total sense to hold the event there and produce a set of prints and an online exhibition alongside the fundraiser. It also gave me a chance to use the images I took during happier times in Ukraine to help Ukrainians now. These prints are very emotionally charged for me, but also have a positivity that I think is important to share.”