Ukrainian artists paint brilliant sunflowers over destroyed cars

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Ukrainian artists paint brilliant sunflowers over destroyed cars

Some locals wonder if it is too soon to beautify the wreckage of war because artists have painted brilliant sunflowers over heaps of burnt-out cars destroyed in Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A group of painters from Ukraine and the United States have plans to sell digital images of the work as non-fungible NFTs to raise money for Ukrainian artists, rebuilding projects and other causes.

The cars were recovered largely in the city of Irpin, on the outskirts of the country's capital, Kyiv.

According to Trek Kelly, a Los Angeles-based muralist who helped initiate the project, many came from a bridge destroyed by Ukrainian forces to stop the advance of Russian tanks.

He said that the work was approved by the city authorities and assured the artists that no one had died in the vehicles.

One couple who owned one of the vehicles thanked them for the repurposing of these cars into something more beautiful, Kelly said.

Other residents were less sure this week as they walked around the works that litter the main road leading into Irpin, where authorities say 200 -- 300 civilians were killed by Russian attacks before the city was taken back by Ukrainian forces in late March.

Russia hasn't targeted civilians in Ukraine, as it calls it its special military operation.

Casimir Kiendl, who originally hails from Wales but was living in Ukraine when the war began, questioned whether the timing was right for such art.

The memories are still fresh, said Kyiv resident Yuliya Zaliubovska, who fled to France during the war and stopped for a look during a visit to Ukraine on Wednesday.

Kelly and Olena Yanko, a Ukrainian artist who was involved in the project, said they respected the concerns but hoped the site would become a place for reflection.

They think we are dancing on the graves of those who died, Yanko said.

We will win the war, because we can beat the enemy, whether it's with a paintbrush or with weapons. Other cities had already offered them sites for more murals with sunflowers, according to Kelly, the Ukrainian national flower.