In peace, continue your art; in war, continue your art; in freedom, continue your art; in captivity, continue your art!
-Mehmet Murat ildan
Why must we create, even in times of unrest and turmoil? It is truly a need, something almost compulsive for those of us that feel we exist simply to write and communicate through art, in all its forms. And what exactly are we trying to communicate?
Vocal creator Caroline Jane, in a brilliant essay titled "There Is War In Our World And Still I Make Art," manages to get to the bottom of the well of questions that have been raised by the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Am I Niro fiddling while Rome burns?
Is the creation of art during times of war a magnificent, self-indulgent, grotesque?
Through The Moment of Freedom Challenge, we sought to bring our creator community together to ask questions, seek comfort, and converge in a circle of solidarity as we fathom the irresolution and madness unfolding before us. There were no prizes for this Challenge. There were no limitations on what to submit. There was only a simple prompt: Freedom. What is it? What does it look like to us, what did it look like to our ancestors, and what will it look like for our children? And, when freedom is taken away, rendering it the one thing we need above all else, how do we get it back?
Caroline said it better than we ever could:
Like many writers and artists I have often stared at my blank page, my blank canvas, and marvelled at how I could create something from absolutely nothing.
All I had to do was begin.
There is power in that.
There is freedom.
While it may at times feel unimportant, tactless, even antithetical to supporting those in real need, the creation of art during war is vital to the unity and survival of our society. Through words and story, we bind ourselves together with hope.
There is power in that.
There is freedom.
Thank you to our community for helping us curate a special collection of stories in support of those in Ukraine. Along with Caroline's essay, we've compiled 49 additional stories and poems around three key themes that were manifested within the pool of submissions: Resilience, Reflection, and Responsibility.
We continue to stand with those in Ukraine. Thank you for standing alongside.
"A Painted House" by K. T. Seto
"Cabo Raso" by R Dorey
"Cape Espichel" by Jennifer Christiansen
"Coming Back Up" by Sophie Colette
"Dreams of a Dream-Keeper" by Dane BH
"Flight to Freedom" by Alicia Thriver
"Freedom Lost-Never!" by Mark Gagnon
"He Who Fights" by Stephen Roddewig
"Like Paska, We Rise" by E.K. Daniels
"My body isn't mine" by Eloise Robertson
"My Mother was a Tea Smuggler" by Marilyn Davenport
"My Soul of Red" by Gina C.
"One Manic Man" by Bob Metivier
"Reemergence: Finding My Way Back To The Surface" by Breana Ware
"The freedoms we deserve" by stowball
"The Golden Wheat Fields" by Scott Wade
"The Place We are From" by Kalina Isoline
"When Sunflowers Bloom in the Night" by A.M
"And So It Goes" by J.C. Embree
"Bird Song" by Bri Craig
"Coming Unraveled" by Alexandra Zeller
"Feeling Freedom" by Vivian R McInerny
"Free Verse" by Gina C.
"Freedom" by Katherine D. Graham
"KUPYN, RUSSIAN EMPIRE, 1905" by Ari Gold
"Moment of Freedom" by Ashley
"Mountain Retreat" by Kate Hammerbeck
"Renaming Dragontail Peak" by Natale Felix
"Sun Drying Tomatoes on a Sunday" by mokradi_
"The Freedom of the Sea" by Isla Kaye Thistle
"The Hope for Freedom" by Erin D
"The Moment of Freedom" by Abigail Pollard
"The Reality in Which We Live" by Sändra Alexander
"The View from Here" by mokradi_
"The Warrior's Dark Dream" by Mark Gee
"Thousands of Tiny Towers" by Rachel Chelsea Foster
"The History of My Hands" by Gigi Gibson
"Freedom is You" by Emily Cochrane
"Citizens of the Universe" by Oscar Wilson
"Common Wealth" by CJ Miller
"Dawn of youth" by Bimal Kanta Moharana
"Feast of Oneness" by Amy Demien
"Freedom Is My Legacy" by Misty Rae
"Graffiti." by Caroline Jane
"Live, And Let It Be live." by Baby Khushbu
"Mourning Doves" by Melissa Wozniak
"The Devil's Lullaby" by Caitlin Swan
"The Heart of the Issue" by Erin Shea
"The price of my freedom" by Maryam C.
"The Sunflower Resistance" by Allison Baggott-Rowe
"There Is War In Our World And Still I Make Art." by Caroline Jane
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