Special Programming


Interactive Art Installation

A satellite project by
Withrow Common Gallery at Enercare Centre, Hall C, Galleria, CNE 2023

Open daily: 12PM – 8PM

Weaving Unity, Protection, and Peace

In a world plagued by uncertainty and the looming shadows of conflict, the power of art to heal, connect, and express the collective human spirit is exemplified in “The Safety Net.” This interactive art installation transcends the boundaries of traditional artistic expression, inviting observers to engage not only with their hands but also with their hearts and hopes.
At the heart of this installation lies a symbol of both practical and symbolic significance—the white camouflage net, a staple of Ukraine’s winter military operations. Yet, it is presented in a new light, transformed into a symbol of sacred protection. Its stark white color is no longer just a utilitarian tool but a canvas for weaving in wishes of safety, protection, and peace. Observers are beckoned to participate actively, braiding their intentions into the very fabric of the net.
The interwoven strips of the camouflage net mirror the intertwined thoughts, hopes, and wishes of people across the globe like a tapestry of peace. As the net envelops its recipients, it envelops them in a cloak of collective energy, a shield against the harsh realities of a troubled world. It serves as a constant reminder of the shared responsibility to protect and nurture not only the innocent lives in Ukraine but also the broader dream of peace.
“The Safety Net” is more than just an art installation; it is a living testament to the capacity of art to shape realities, to transform tools of war into symbols of unity, and to weave together threads of hope that span the globe. It stands as a beacon of the potential for art to elevate humanity beyond divisions, demonstrating that in our collective creativity, we can find the strength to confront the darkness and build a better world.

Artist Margo Puhachenko
Curator Lyuda Bezpala-Brown

Artist statement

Throughout my artistic journey, I’ve never sought out a predetermined theme. Instead, my projects have emerged organically from my experiences. While my initial exhibitions delved into a philosophical exploration of humanity’s place within the universe, my most recent endeavors mirror the realities that surround me. The fabric of Ukrainian society is intricately woven with the stories of those who remained in their homeland and those who were compelled to seek refuge elsewhere.

For men, the choices may appear more straightforward – stay and protect or flee to safety. Yet, for women, the complexities of decision-making are often layered. As a mother, the instinct to shield one’s children at any cost tugs against the urge to escape impending danger. As a wife, the pull to stand by a husband’s side contrasts with the duty to support one’s country. This intricate web of choices shaped my personal evolution from a state of primal fear for my children’s safety to a self-awareness as a creator. This transformation marked my transition into crafting new forms of art.

My involvement in volunteer centers in Poland and my subsequent visits to similar centers in Ukraine ignited a profound inspiration within me. These experiences compelled me to shift from passive suffering to active analysis and creation. Among the myriad encounters with remarkable individuals and the exchange of harrowing tales, the act of weaving camouflage netting struck me profoundly. Beyond its utilitarian purpose of shielding Ukrainian soldiers from enemy aircraft, this netting holds a deeper significance. It becomes a hallowed endeavor, woven by those whom the soldiers defend at the risk of their lives.

The act of weaving becomes an act of prayer or a shamanic whisper of protective words, giving rise to a sacred creation. Simultaneously, this weaving process becomes a form of catharsis, offering solace to many participants in these centers who find solace in their weaving, a contribution they can make even when unable to provide direct assistance to their troops. This network of weavers transforms into a formidable shield, safeguarding European values and civilization from encroaching threats. The longer I immerse myself in this project, the more profound my connection to this simple yet potent action by everyday individuals becomes. From these straightforward gestures, a new and genuine art form emerges, reflecting the sincerity of their actions.

Participating in this exhibition provides me the platform to share this art piece across oceans, but more importantly, it offers the chance to unite with countless individuals in a shared endeavor. It extends an invitation to engage not just in the weaving of tangible winter camouflage, but in weaving something truly authentic and pure. To tangibly touch something of vital importance and contribute to the creation of a shield for European civilization.

In my perspective, modern art should transcend mere emotional appeal. Our current realities render the creation of something novel for novelty’s sake, devoid of substantial meaning, increasingly obsolete. Emotions have been commodified and desensitized through their constant saturation in all aspects of life. Authenticity and significance are emerging as paramount, demanding an integral role in contemporary art. This project embodies the truth and essence of my life’s journey and creative evolution over the past year.

Margo Puhachenko