The Hero-City of Mariupol, Ukraine

Defending Ukraine's Liberty

Art has a vital role in the struggle against lies and violence. The Russian moralist and Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote:


“Violence finds its only refuge in falsehood, falsehood its only support in violence…

“And the simple step of a simple courageous person is not to partake in falsehood, not to support false actions! Let that enter the world, let it even reign in the world – but not with my help. 

“But writers and artists can achieve more: they can CONQUER FALSEHOOD! In the struggle with falsehood art always did win and it always does win! Openly, irrefutably for everyone! Falsehood can hold out against much in this world, but not against art.”

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Lecture in Literature, 1970 is holding an art contest for original works on themes related to the defense of Ukraine's freedom and liberty.

Theme: The Hero-City of Mariupol / Defense of Mariupol

Defenders of the hero-city of Mariupol have held out against Russian forces outnumbering them by several fold and despite being surrounded and cut off from reinforcements and supplies.  Mariupol has been bombarded by land forces encircling the city, by warships in the Black Sea, and by bombers overhead.  The city has been cut off from food, water, and electricity for weeks.  The Defenders held out in spite of promises of safe passage if they would surrender the city.

Being unable to defeat the Ukrainian defenders by conventional means, Russia has perpetrated war crimes and terrorism. Russians under Putin and Mikhail Mizintev, the “Butcher of Mariupol,” have repeatedly and intentionally bombed and shelled residential neighborhoods, hospitals, and schools. Over 300 people, including pregnant women and babies transferred after the bombing of a maternity hospital, were killed during the targeted bombing of the Mariupol Drama Theater which was clearly marked on both sides with the Russian word "children" clearly visible from the air.  As in so many cases, Russia has done what it falsely accused its opponents of doing, committing genocide against Mariupol's civilian population. Doctors of Mariupol stated that they were "treating 10 civilians for every injured Ukrainian soldier." Russian invaders murdered many thousands of civilians, including children, elderly, and pregnant women, despite orders from the International Justice Court for Russia to immediately withdraw and its finding that the pretext for Russia’s invasion was baseless.


The defense of Mariupol has occupied invading forces, taking pressure off of some other regions of Ukraine to allow them to fortify and prepare.  Even long after being cut off with no hope of rescue, the defenders of Mariupol inflicted heavy losses on the invaders, eliminating a Russian major general, a senior Russian naval commander, a colonel, and a Russian bomber. Mariupol continues to resist the invaders. 


Contrary to Russian propaganda, “the regular Ukrainian military, not the National Guard or any kind of nationalist militia, has borne the brunt of [Mariupol’s] defense.”  The martyr-city of Mariupol, its people, and its defenders will live eternally in bright memory with heroes like the 300 Spartans who held off the Persian army at Thermopylae. Its destruction will forever be a stain on Russia, like Stalin’s murder of thousands of Poles in the Katyn forest. 

*We do not condone extremism by any group.*


First prize - $500 US

Second Prize - $300 US

Third Prize - $200 US

Fourth and Fifth Prize: $100 US

Submission Deadline: April 15, 2022

Deadline may be extended by up to one month if we do not receive enough quality submissions by this date.

Entrants must be 18 years of age or older (a parent or legal guardian may submit their child’s drawings). Entrants represent that their work is original and that they have the full rights thereto.  Entries must be suitable for a global general audience. Entrants convey to the right to display and distribute submitted works with attribution to the artist. In submitting an entry, you represent that you agree to the terms and conditions of the Entrant Agreement.  Artwork entries should be uploaded in JPG, PNG, BMP, or PDF formats.

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