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South African artist Ricky Lee Gordon aka Freddy Sam is now in Kiev where he just finished this new mural for the non-stop project Art United us.
Titled “І ХВИЛІ МОРЯ ТОЧАТЬ КАМІНЬ  КОЖНА РІКА ВПАДАЄ В МОРЕ” or just ‘Every River Flows to the Sea and the Waves of the Sea will Soften the Stone” the new mural draws its inspiration from a metaphor from Gautama Buddha that goes like this “if a stick falls into the river, the flow of the river will take the stick downstream and eventually the stick will be connected with the endless ocean, this is the law of nature, nature only goes one direction. If the stick can avoid sandbanks and being caught up in the reeds it will reach the endless ocean.” When we go with and are aware of the flow of nature we can experience the interconnectedness of everything.

According to the artist this mural was the result of several conversations with local curators giving shape to a very simple artwork layered with symbolism which is described by Ricky Lee Gordon as follows:

The water symbolizes of the Dnipro River as a source of life that runs through Ukraine like a bloodline to the Black Sea. I have used the famous statue of Bohdan Khmelnytsky only to remove him from the horse and change the direction of the horse from facing north (Russia) to now face away to the south. I have done this to edit and remix history to show that everything changes and is out of our control. We build statues to celebrate our history but our history along with our statues will only just fade away with time, with the cycle of nature.
The gold square in the mural even though the most striking and seemingly powerful will be the first of the colours to go when the mural begins to fade in a few years.
I make uses of squares because there is nothing geometric in nature; we create boxes to try compartmentalize everything giving us the illusion of control. The mural is also homage to an iconic painting by Ukrainian artist Kazimir Malevich’s – The Black Square. The work is frequently invoked as the “zero point“ of painting referring to the painting’s historical significance.
Malevich says; “It is from zero that the true movement of being begins. Black Square is meant to evoke the experience of pure non-objectivity in the white emptiness of a liberated nothing.”

And finally the title of the work is homage to Ukrainian Poet Taras Shevchenko whose poem “A reflection” opening line is; “The river empties to the sea, But out it never flows”

When I first started the mural and all that was visible on the wall was the appearance of a black horse, a local elderly woman approached me with anger in her voice, pleading for me to make the mural colourful. I expressed to her with the help of translation that the meaning of the mural is the colour and the beauty. Pointing to my heart and opening my hand out to her and everyone else around I expressed that I want her to see the beauty, and that my intention is to share beauty with her and everyone around. This made her happy and throughout the days she brought me sweets and tea. And on the day before completing she brought me a traditional Pysanky egg on a necklace. The egg is said to represent the original source of creation! The Universe! The symbol of life, completeness, continuity and the cyclical nature of the universe. In the folk life of Ukrainian people, the pysanka which is dated back to 1300 years BC possess talismanic powers. Receipt of a pysanka is not only a token of friendship or esteem but also brings with it protection from harm. The sense of mystery is inherent because each pysanka involves a trinity of symbolisms: the symbolism of the egg itself, the symbolism of design, and the symbolism of color.

For more about the artist Website | Instagram
Project: ArtUnitedUs curated by Geo Leros, Iryna Kanishcheva, Waone Interesni Kazki, Ilya Sagaidak

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Author: Fran

Founder and editor of Urbanite. Street Art lover who after the finishing her MA thesis on the muralist movement in the 1920-50s, developed a fascination for street art and graffiti that eventually led to collaborations with different art blogs, including the creation of this one.