Ukrainian Ad Agency Turns Bulletproof Vest Plates Into Art

The ArtArmour initiative from McCann Kyiv will raise funds for more military protective wear

As the war for Ukraine reaches a year, the country’s advertising industry is continuing to produce creative ideas that help Ukraine’s economic situation and its defense against Russian invasion.

The latest example comes from the McCann Kyiv team, alongside volunteer movement Ukraine for Heroes. They have produced a project that brings together art and the country’s military to raise funds for more protective wear. The initiative is now seeking international artists to get involved.

The ArtArmor project has united artists from across Ukraine to repurpose used plates from within bulletproof vests as a canvas for creativity.

The list of artists involved includes painter Yuri Vakulenko, sculptors Petro Bavza and Nazar Bilyk, Svitlana Ratoshnyuk and Andriy Bludov, who have each turned the 12 used plates into works of art that tell the stories of the lives the plates saved.

The artwork was initially exhibited in Kyiv and Lviv and is set to next travel around European capitals before being auctioned online through a dedicated campaign site.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky signs one of the plates.McCann Kyiv

Both Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and the country’s Armed Forces commander in chief, Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, have supported the art by signing some of them.

Eugene Kaminsky, chief creative officer of McCann Kyiv, explained to Adweek that the initial idea for the project came from the observation that the beauty of Ukraine’s art culture was not enough to protect it from war, but it could be used to save the lives of its military instead.

He added: “Art has always claimed that human life is priceless, but, maybe for the first time in history, artists and art connoisseurs can literally rescue the lives of defenders, who are protecting not only Ukraine but the future of democracy in the world.”

“When the energy of an armored plate that saved the life of a soldier joins with the humanistic message from the artist, a unique masterpiece is created. And it is both saving lives and conveying a strong ‘never again’ message against wars to humankind,” continued Kaminsky.

As the plates begin their international tour, an open call has gone out for more artists to participate from outside of Ukraine. Those too will be auctioned to raise funds for the army.

Alongside accepting bids for the plates, the campaign site also hosts a number of stories about those fighting for the country and provides news updates on different initiatives being run by the Ukraine for Heroes.