Steel and tissue paper
Aprox. 24” x 18” x 12”
On February 28, 2022, Russian rocket artillery killed 16 children, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the European Union in an emotional appeal the following day.
These children — like butterflies, each one different, each one special, each one beautiful — had their lives crushed before they even had a chance to spread their wings. Russian steel stopped time for them. Likewise, the branch of steel in this sculpture keeps its butterflies frozen in time, forever attached to the cold, forged metal.
I tamed the coldness of the steel with a flame, which to my surprise revealed the hues of the Ukrainian flag, as if it were an act of resistance. Seeing this, I used the same pale undertones that emerged from the polished metal to hand print the lifeless butterflies.
Like the death of the butterfly crushed in Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder” (1952), the deaths of these 16 Ukrainian children could be seen, in the grand scheme of war, as “a small thing.” But they are also deaths “that could upset balances . . . all down the years across Time.”
Perhaps Russian President Vladimir Putin thought that killing them, to use Bradbury’s words, “couldn’t be that important! Could it?”