A 5-meter, or more than 16-foot, sand sculpture of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy depicted as the Statue of Liberty was built in the center of the Southern Estonian town of Tõrva over the weekend. A new park is to be built around the sculpture in cooperation with refugee artists from Ukraine.
Made from more than 70 tons of sand, the sand sculpture, depicting Zelenskyy's face on the figure of the U.S.' iconic Statue of Liberty, was built by world-famous Latvian sculptor Agnese Rudzite-Kirillova.
While Rudzite-Kirillova arrived in Estonia at the request of Tõrva municipal leaders and with the support of entrepreneurs, she herself noted that this was actually just one of many statements of support for Ukraine created by Latvian artists.
"Zelenskyy didn't flee or chicken out," Rudzite-Kirillova highlighted. "He stayed in his country to fight for his land and for freedom. That's very heroic in my opinion, and he's certainly cemented his place in history with it. That's why I tried to capture that feeling in my work — his pose, his uplifted fist saying, 'We're gonna fight, and we're gonna win.'"
A new park, Freedom Park (Vabaduse park), is slated to be built around the Zelenskyy figure by Midsummer, to which refugee artists from Ukraine will be contributing. Valga County's Tõrva Municipality is among those currently housing war refugees from Ukraine.
"Also planned is a well-known symbol of Russia's war in Ukraine — a tractor pulling a tank, which in turn is carrying a washing machine stolen by the aggressor," Tõrva Municipal Mayor Maido Ruusmann said. "Such thought-provoking symbols are planned. Another symbol as well, depicting the Baltic Way, plus various exhibitions."
"Zelenskyy is a very creative person — he's an actor too, of course," Rudzite-Kirillova said.
"I believe that it's this creativity that has helped him make atypical decisions in various situations," she explained. "If you look at his behavior and his attitudes, he's not the type of person who can be pressed into a frame. He doesn't hold back in his emotions; he improvises. It seems to me as though that is a very good thing in the current situation. A live person with their emotions, who owns the situation as it is."
As a creative, Zelenksyy could be depicted in several different ways. According to the Latvian artist, however, the Ukrainian president as the Statue of Liberty sums him up precisely as the world currently sees him.
Editor: Aili Vahtla