This morning it was reported that 353 beautiful, innocent Ukrainian children have been killed by merciless Russian troops under the direction of a despicable war criminal in the Kremlin, and more than 662 children injured since the war began on February 24th. I painted these sunflowers in the studio today in their memory just as I had painted sixteen sunflowers on February 27th when we then learned that 16 children had been killed in the first three days of the war. We continue to grieve with their families as these crimes against humanity continue and hope that the brave people of Ukraine know that they are always in our thoughts and will be each and every day until this twenty first century “massacre of the innocents” is over. 💙💛
From the Pacific Spirit Park on this Canada Day 2022 🇨🇦, with gratitude to all of our health care heroes who have worked tirelessly over the past two years or more so that we can all finally gather together once again, and remembering the lost generations of children from the residential schools who never made it home; but with disappointment and anger that too many of our fellow citizens remain an unworthy rabble that still fails to understand the meaning of the word Freedom. They need only to look to the brave Ukrainian people who are fighting not only for their freedom but for ours also, in their battle against the war criminal sitting in the Kremlin. That is freedom that we must all fight for in whatever way we can until this war is over and Ukraine is free once again. 🇺🇦
As we remember all those brave Canadian soldiers who fought and died in 1917 on this day, a day that commemorates the battle of Vimy Ridge, this statue entitled Canada Bereft from the Vimy Ridge Memorial in Northern France seems to express how we are all feeling today and could perhaps even be thought of as Ukraine Bereft as our thoughts every day are of all those who are dying in yet another senseless and cruel war in which the victims are not just brave Ukrainian soldiers but innocent, defenseless children, women, and the elderly all dying together from torture, starvation and murder at the hands of the ruthless Russian army, all war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Wanted for crimes against humanity, the criminal now known as the butcher of Russia, for his merciless massacre of innocent Ukrainian children, men and women, grandparents and parents. Today we learn that many of the over 300 killed in the Mariupol Theatre attack were children and pregnant women sheltering after they had escaped the bombing of the Mariupol Maternity and Children’s Hospital.
This ongoing “Massacre of the Innocents” breaks all of our hearts as it continues unabated, with the fresco by Giotto di Bondoni in the Arena Chapel in Padua as meaningful today as it was when he painted it over nine hundred years ago.
As the relentless bombing continues today, the war crimes against the people of Ukraine, especially the children, by Putin and his nazified Russian army will never be forgotten. Judgement day for him must come soon, whether from the people of Russia who do not support him, or from the newly proposed Nurenberg-style international tribunal. He has joined the ranks of every evil despot in history becoming a modern-day Hitler with crimes against humanity that have no regard for human life, however young, those beautiful innocent children who are always in my thoughts as I know they are in yours.
We walked in the Pacific Spirit Park today after listening to President Zelenskyy’s impassioned address to the Canadian Parliament in which we learnt that ninety seven children have been tragically killed in his beloved country together with so many of the country’s brave men and women and now including three brave journalists. Our condolences and thoughts are with all the families, friends and colleagues grieving today.
This drawing is from a larger piece from 2017 drawn in protest at that time to an event that had produced the same sense of heartbreak and outrage that I know we all feel today. Some of you may remember the full piece can be seen here: “From Spirit Park to Spirit Dark”
These sunflowers are a message of love and support as we continue to Stand with Ukraine.