A Ukrainian resident of London, Ontario is helping to support people fighting back in his home country with an upcoming charity event.
Dmitry Tarabanov is working with Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation to organize Avatars for Ukraine, a charity auction featuring digital artworks known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – a form of cryptographic technology which cannot be replaced or exchanged because each digital “fingerprint” is monitored.
All proceeds from the auction will go to medical aid for Ukrainian soldiers.
“We have injured defenders of Ukraine who have been protecting it for three months,” Tarabanov said. “There are thousands of injured, and we would like to start helping them as soon as possible.”
Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine as Minister of Digital Transformation, shared the news of the upcoming event on his social media platforms.
“The best video game developers in Ukraine, together with digital artists, have created a charity collection NFT Avatars for Ukraine,” he said.
A total of 70 artists are participating in the May 19 auction, themed as the reflection of war and “embodiments of the spirit of Ukraine in its struggle for existence”, according to the website Avatars for Ukraine.
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“It’s the face of my nation at war,” Tarabanov said. “Basically, each work of art is an important part of the spirit, soul, wisdom, love and freedom of Ukraine.”
Tarabanov said an extensive collection of Ukrainian artwork focuses on previous wartime periods, including the Soviet era and World War II. He stressed the importance of separating the digital artworks in the upcoming auction from anything seen in the past.
“Times are changing and that includes the way art is produced,” he said. “It’s a historic moment, just like the comics industry released special issues of Wartime Superman in the 1940s. I think the current war is the first time in history where games video actually play the role of helping people affected by the war in Ukraine.
He added that the name of the auction, Avatars, comes from Sanskrit – an ancient Indo-European language from India – and means incarnation or incarnation.
“He represents universal justice that is not based on human law, but on one of a higher concept,” he said. “So the idea is that these images are just the avatars of Ukraine, as a nation and as a people.”
Arriving in Canada about seven years ago, Tarabanov hails from a town near Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine.
Wanting to not only help those fighting the Russian invasion, but also help keep family members in good spirits as they flee the active war zone, Tarabanov hopes this upcoming auction can bring some relief to all.
“Medical help, treatment and prostheses, our hope is that this help will allow everyone to return to a once normal life.”
Available worldwide, the auction will go live on Thursday, May 19.
More information can be found on the Avatars for Ukraine website.
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