Inspired by a public call by the European ngo De Structura, Council Members Alec Lamberts and Sien Steels of the City of Temse in Belgium from the local party TESAMEN (means ‘together’) added a draft decision to the agenda of the City Council for today, 30 May 2022.
The opposition council members ask their local government to invest a minimum amount of 2000 with an upper margin of 10,000 euro on a monument for peace made by an Ukranian 50+ artist who is still residing and trying to survive in Ukraine, displayed in the public space of their hometown in Belgium.
“We live in a luxury position in comparison to the war in Ukraine at the very moment,” says councillor Lamberts (23), “but in Eastern Europe they are faced with all the misery and traumas of Ukrainian refugees, collectively searching for a liveable environment. Out of European solidarity we should do more than we do now in Western Europe and that is why I put together an effort with councillor Steels into submitting and writing a draft decision for the council. We hope the majority of N-VA, Open VLD and CD&V (ruling political parties) see this is not about us, but about helping people in war.”
Ngo De Structura, a European ngo that provides peer-to-peer and expert support for young professionals when starting their careers, have both Ukrainian and Russian members on their team and published an open call, a cry for help, on their website.
“As many of these artists are currently stuck in Ukraine together with their art, you either commission them to deliver the work a year from now or deliver the existing piece whenever it becomes possible. You help them, they help people around them”, states Anastasia Lemberg-Lvova and Katerina Lipovka from De Structura.
“Our team unanimously and unequivocally condemns the war in Ukraine - murder of civilians, rape of women and children, destruction of Ukrainian cities and the ongoing intimidation of European counties in the region. We stand with Ukraine.”
De Structura is happy that the young generation of Ukrainian artists did receive a lot of chances from European art institutions to continue their work and flee to somewhere safe. Although the ngo sees that the elder generations are mainly overlooked and do feel abandoned while still residing in Ukraine. They see how the fruits and financial reserves of their hard work are crumbling down by surviving in a war country, which results in a lot of pressure on them and their communities.
By buying a monument as a European Local government, you show solidarity and help communities and whole families survive with direct money. “And you get a much-needed modern memory of the worth of peace. We tend to forget the value of living without war.” adds councillors Lamberts and Steels.
“As an older amateur artist myself, I see and feel the need to support older artists in a country faced with war,” states councillor Sien Steels (63). “We easily forget the older generations while they may have had a successful career and see now everything vanishing in front of their eyes. Heartbreaking, and they do not have a social safety net by the state as we know it in Belgium.”
The call of De Structura is also valid for all citizens: “if you can spend 2000 euros on an art piece for your home or garden, you can help a lot.” says Anastasia from De Structura.