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The Nightingale of Freedom – using NFT technology to support Ukraine

Project Objective

The Nightingale of Freedom is the best idea that came to my mind when I decided to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom once again.

Birds have always been one of my creative topics. My new work, a collage titled “The Nightingale of Freedom”, reflects that while simultaneously paying tribute to Ukraine’s glory.  The main reason for choosing a nightingale is that it is the national bird of Ukraine. It symbolizes love, peace, and freedom. Given the present genocidal war ongoing in Ukraine, this project is yet another reminder to support the country in whatever ways we can.

The concept of the project

Nightingales are small birds best known for their powerful and beautiful songs. The nightingale has light brown and gray colored feathers that are fairly muted and neutral. Sadly, these colors mirror Ukraine’s current status: the country is devastated, destroyed, and being trampled on. On the other hand, a two-headed golden eagle is in the coat of arms of Russia. Eagles are mostly 28-38 inches, and their wingspan is 5.5 to 8 feet. When we imagine these two birds fighting, it reflects the perfect picture of what is currently happening in Ukraine and Russia. Their strength is not equal. However, there is always hope. A small bird can be brighter and more agile than a fearsome predator. In my opinion, a wonderful melody from the nightingale, which is usually heard at night, is another allegory that reflects the struggle of Ukraine – perhaps quite silent, yet persistent and determined.

How I made the collage

I started by duplicating the contours of a nightingale’s body. Later, I chose the collage technique because I wanted it to be a socially inclusive project.

That’s why I invited 14 schools and kindergartens from Lithuania to participate in this project, and more than 400 children contributed to it. They drew and designed paper feathers. They painted them blue and yellow to emphasize the colors of Ukraine’s flag.

The children were pleased to collaborate by outlining the feathers with black paint. That symbolizes mourning, sadness, and pain. Unfortunately, that is what most people feel in the horror of this war.

The kids painted with acrylics and gouache and used colored markers and pencils. I received the feathers after they cut them. It was a really creative and technical challenge for me to achieve the goal I had in my mind. This artwork required a highly complex method connecting more than 500 feathers of various shapes, forms, colors, and styles. Nevertheless, I was able to create a unique piece of art.

The project is special to me for a few reasons. First, I find it genuinely beautiful. Equally, I loved every drawing as each of them radiates the children’s immense love and cry for peace. And while it was hard at times, it is a great feeling to contribute to the end of this war.

As I have mentioned before, the ultimate goal of the “Nightingale of Freedom” was to help Ukraine. And while raising awareness is also helpful, I wanted to go one step further. Since the project was initiated by a fintech startup Rockit, I decided to try out the non-fungible token technology. Lithuanian National Art Museum helped me digitalize the project, while a company called BCCS Cluster created the NFT.