+
upworthy
Most Shared

This resilient Ukrainian city may just have the most beautiful murals in Europe.

Kiev: a city that does public art right.

What do you envision when you think of Kiev?

For many in the West, the Ukraine's capital city — plastered on front pages and scrolling across news tickers in recent years — has become synonymous with political turmoil. And there's certainly some truth in that.

But if you've only read gripping headlines, you've missed out on half the story.


"Protectress," by Mata Ruda, depicting a goddess surrounded by sunflowers — the national flower of Ukraine. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

Sprinkled across Kiev's towering structures, powerful displays of beauty have transformed the Ukrainian metropolis.

"Boy With Darts," by Sacha Korban. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

Ever since widespread protests against government corruption sparked change about two years ago, many in Kiev have turned to art.

Mural by artist Okuda. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

Murals have exploded throughout the city, turning the country's political anxieties into expressions of hope and strength.

This mural by artist Nunca blends Brazilian and Ukrainian cultures to create a single subject. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

Both international artists and locals have brightened Kiev's weathered brick homes and businesses into wondrous works.

 The results are nothing short of stunning.

Mural by Alexander Britz. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

The murals began cropping up largely after the Euromaidan protests in February 2014.

Angered by mass corruption and governmental mismanagement, anti-Russia protesters shook the political status quo of Ukraine, which was formerly part of the Soviet Union. Deadly riots and a national call to action culminated in the toppling of then-President Viktor Yanukovych, as well as an overhaul of much of the country's political system.

It was a grueling time for Ukrainians — and that instability has lingered into 2016 — but the unrest also spurred a burst of creative expression that has breathed new artistic life into the streets of Kiev.

Many of the murals are either subtly or overtly political, like Fintan Magee's "The Dreamer."

"The Dreamer" by Fintan Magee. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

The artwork features Ukrainian gymnast Hanna Rizatdinova, who's originally from Crimea — a region that was forcibly (and controversially) annexed by Russia.

"I could not understand why," Rizatdinova said of the annexation. "How can the Cri­mea be Russia? How can our Simferopol school train under a Rus­sian flag? I was outraged."

Others are motivated by pure delight, like Sasha Korban's "Elephant Dream."

"Elephant Dream" by Sasha Korban. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

Because what's more delightful than an elephant carrying colorful balloons?

But every work of art tells a unique story.

"Renaissance" by artists Seth Globepainter and Kislow. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

And each unique story should be heard.

"The Rebuild" by Australian artist Fintan Magee, who said the subject for the piece was a Ukrainian friend, Kateryna. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

"The River Crossing" by Fintan Magee. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

"The Visionary" by Fintan Magee. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

As Kiev exemplifies, art often means so much more than pretty pictures.

The healing effects of creating art are well-documented and profound, with many people who've experienced tough times or traumatic experiences — from U.S. veterans to children of war-torn regions — using the medium to cope and grow.

It makes sense that the collective grief of Kiev has blossomed into artistic beauty.

This kaleidoscopic cormorant, by artist Ernesto Maranje, is easily spotted on the drive from the Kiev airport into the city. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

A portrait of Mykhaylo Hrushevsky — a leading figure in the Ukrainian national revival of the early 20th century — by Kailas-V. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

"Swift" by Alex Maksiov features Ukraine's flag in the bird's eye. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

"The Archangel Michael" by Gaia, which symbolizes the conflict in Crimea and Donbas between Ukraine and Russia. Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

If anything's evident in the artwork peppered throughout Kiev, it's the unbelievable strength of a people — even in the darkest of times.

Because even amid unrest and a deep desire for change, it still rings true that home is where the heart is for the people of Ukraine.

This local mural reads "I love Ukraine!" Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.

Pop Culture

Two brothers Irish stepdancing to Beyoncé's country hit 'Texas Hold 'Em' is pure delight

The Gardiner Brothers and Queen Bey proving that music can unite us all.

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

Motivation expert explains how two simple words can free you from taking things personally

You don't need to take responsibility for everything and everyone.

Mel Robinson making a TED Talk.

Towards the end of The Beatles’ illustrious but brief career, Paul McCartney wrote “Let it Be,” a song about finding peace by letting events take their natural course. It was a sentiment that seemed to mirror the feeling of resignation the band had with its imminent demise.

The bittersweet song has had an appeal that has lasted generations and that may be because it reflects an essential psychological concept: the locus of control.

“It’s about understanding where our influence ends and accepting that some things are beyond our control,” Jennifer Chappell Marsh, a marriage and family therapist, told The Huffington Post. “We can’t control others, so instead, we should focus on our own actions and responses.”

Keep ReadingShow less

A mother confronts her daughter for judging her friend's weight.

A 42-year-old mother wondered whether she did the right thing by disciplining her 18-year-old daughter, Abby, who disinvited a friend from vacation because of her weight. The mother asked people on Reddit for their opinion.

For some background, Abby had struggled with her weight for many years, so she went to her mother for help. The two set up a program where Abby was given a reward for every milestone she achieved.

“Four months ago, she asked that I don't get her any more rewards and add it up to her birthday gift, and for her gift she wants a vacation I will pay for, for her and her friends instead of the huge party I had promised for her 18th. I said OK,” the mother wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less
Heroes

This quick-thinking teen cleverly befriended a woman's kidnapper to rescue her

Malyk Bonnet did a very brave thing: He listened to his gut.


You've probably been there. You're out and about and you see something that just feels ... off.

"Should I step in? ... But it's not really any of my business. ... And I'm not even sure they need my help..."

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

This mom's empowering selfies show off life with an invisible illness.

She's reclaiming her confidence and sharing what it can really mean to be a mom with Crohn's disease.

All photos by Krystal Miller, used with permission.

Krystal, Arabella, and Lukas.


There are a lot of hard things about living with Crohn's disease. Not being able to talk about it might be the worst one.

Imagine being constantly tired, but in a way that even 15 hours of sleep a day can't cure. Imagine going to dinner, but every time you eat something as simple as a roll of warm bread, it feels like it might've had broken glass inside of it.

Then, it's time to go to the bathroom. Again. Is that the fifth time this hour or the sixth? You've lost track. It's a running joke now — your friends think it's funny, but nobody really talks about what happens when you step away. Because, really, you look fine. Just tired.

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

A school assignment asked for 3 benefits of slavery. This kid gave the only good answer.

The school assignment was intended to spark debate and discussion — but isn't that part of the problem?

A school assignment asked for 3 "good" reasons for slavery.



It's not uncommon for parents to puzzle over their kids' homework.

Sometimes, it's just been too long since they've done long division for them to be of any help. Or teaching methods have just changed too dramatically since they were in school.

And other times, kids bring home something truly inexplicable.
Keep ReadingShow less