Updated: Aug 12
Benjamin Swatez, a world-renowned mural artist who paints murals of hope and healing from Africa to Asia, from Latin America to Europe, has left his mark in Ukraine. Having grandparents who emigrated to the US from this region long ago, but having never visited this place before, coming to the village of Moshchyn felt to him strangly like a homecoming from a time past. It was a homecoming to an ancient root in his DNA that he was able to experience for the first time.
What a beautifully relevant sentiment in the heart of the artist pouring himself and his creativity out onto the wall of the community center in this village. Arriving here straight from Krakow at 3AM after an exciting adventure nearly running out of diesel on the highway, we got straight to work. With skies threatening rain, and with only 48hours to work before heading to Lviv, Ukraine todirect another project, Benjamin wasted no time.
The stork has particular cultural meaning in Ukraine. As in the rest of the western world, the stork brings babies here. It also is a symbol of rebirth, of good fortune and of unity. Everybody wants a stork to nest on their property. Here in the mural, we have a female stork tending the little ones in a nest held safely in God's hands - the inspiration for which came from an award-winning piece of art created by Michelle Rigsby of Brenham, Texas The range of blues in the flag are a reminder of Benjamin and Amanda's coming daughter to be named 'Azerine'. The Pappa stork is coming home to his family and his landing posture shows that he is not far away. The human family is united as dad comes home from the fight, and they are reunited, looking together towards a brighter future. What a message of hope, and healing, of reunification and coming home for a hurting people. Thanks Benjamin!