Prominent Art School in Kyiv Severely Damaged by Russian Air Strike - The World News

Prominent Art School in Kyiv Severely Damaged by Russian Air Strike

A prominent school of art and design in Kyiv sustained severe damage from a Russian airstrike on Monday, becoming the latest landmark of Ukrainian culture drawn into Russia’s invasion. 

The news was shared by Ukraine’s ministry of culture and information policy, which said in a statement that “as a result of falling fragments of a missile launched by the Russian Federation, the central part of the building at the Kyiv State Academy of Decorative and Applied Arts and Design named after Mykhailo Boichuk was destroyed.”

The ministry added that “the premises of the departments and the auditorium of the institution suffered significant damage” and that measures to salvage the damaged objects would commence “as soon as possible.” 

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TOPSHOT - Cranes and workers board up the windows of the Transfiguration Cathedral damaged as a result of a missile strike in Odesa on July 23, prior to a service on July 24, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine on Sunday said 19 people, including four children, were wounded in a Russian overnight missile attack on Odesa that also killed one person. (Photo by Oleksandr GIMANOV / AFP) (Photo by OLEKSANDR GIMANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

The school’s namesake, painter Mykhailo Boichuk, was a key figure of Ukrainian modernism, as well as a renowned educator and restorer. While working for the National Museum in Lviv, he managed to save numerous precious 15th- and 16th-century icons. He was executed in 1937, at age 54, as part of the “Great Purge,” Joseph Stalin’s campaign to consolidate political power in the Soviet Union by crushing those who were labeled dissidents. 

Students, alumni, and faculty lamented the destruction of the school on social media, with some sharing to Facebook images and videos of the nearly 100-year-old school partly reduced to rubble. Damaged and ruined sculptures, mosaics, and icons are visible, as are emergency workers who are assessing the property. 

Helen Osadcha, head of the academy, wrote in a Facebook post that the school was struck at 10:30 a.m., while class was in session. According to Osadcha, an air-raid siren went off shortly before the explosion, saving the life of a teacher standing near a window that was moments from shattering. 

She said that everything in the exhibition “Woman in the Flames of War,” which was on view in the school’s congress hall, was destroyed. “The enemy is trying to destroy Ukraine as a nation, erase our identity, destroy cultural monuments,” she wrote, adding that Russia “tries to rewrite our history and appropriate the spiritual and cultural assets of Ukraine.”

In February, UNESCO, the United Nations’s cultural agency, reported that 341 heritage sites in Ukraine had been damaged since Russia’s 2022 invasion, including 26 religious structures, 150 buildings of historical or artistic importance, and 31 museums. The estimated total cost of destruction to cultural property was set at $2.5 billion.

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