The year of Ukraine’s invasion is commemorated by art video mapping on the Ministry of the Interior building

Jan Handrejch

For several evenings, video mapping is projected on the Ministry of the Interior building in Prague’s Letná district. People in Need initiated it to commemorate the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Two light installations inspired by the everyday lives of people in the war will be on display until tomorrow, February 25.

The video mapping is meant to remind people that the war in Ukraine is still ongoing and the humanitarian situation in the country is worsening. The purpose of the art installations on the outskirts of Letná Plain was described by Petr Štefan, media coordinator of People in Need, who initiated the event.

The central installation—a video mapping on the side wall of the Interior Ministry building – and subsequent projections on canvases in the adjacent park were prepared by the non-profit organization in cooperation with the creative tech-art agency XLAB.

Symbols of Life in War

“What’s interesting about this mapping is that it uses photos and materials from People in Need that were taken directly in Ukraine,” Jan Morávek, who was in charge of the artistic side of the event, said. “We wanted to stay on a symbolic level, so the creative was focused on projecting people living in Ukraine,” he added.

“We chose the most striking symbols that Ukrainians consume every day, like headlines in the newspapers, different signs on the walls, what it looks like when there is a bombing, and they have to go to a shelter, what kind of message they get on their mobile phones, and so on. You can see all this in the projection,” Stefan described.

He said the People in Need staff is committed to helping as long as it is needed in Ukraine. He also recalled the great wave of solidarity across Czech society.

“The solidarity of the Czech people is enormous; for example, here in Prague, you can see it on almost every corner, whether it is just Ukrainian flags. We can see it in our collection account for aid to Ukraine, where we have already received over CZK 2 billion from small donors and companies,” said the organization’s coordinator.

The worst day of his life

“Thank you so much for your support and for having us. The Czechs have been very kind to us,” said Anastasia, a Ukrainian girl who also attended one of the first screenings.

“February 24th a year ago was the worst day of my life,” admitted the young woman from Kharkiv. The screenings and photographs reminded her of the beginning of the war but also gave her hope that the conflict might soon be over. She has been living in the Czech Republic for eleven months and, like in Ukraine, works in a hospital.

Her Czech friend, among others, came to Letná with her. “I must say that I was very impressed by the screening, and my stomach clenched when I imagined that this is exactly what they experience, hear, and see in Ukraine,” she confided.

Another viewer felt similar emotions, “It was only when I saw this video mapping that I realized that it’s been a year since this has been happening. I still feel sad about it,” she added as she left the park in Letná.

The organizers deliberately chose Letná plain for the screenings. “It is exactly the place where people go to remember when something significant happens, and a year of this war is something significant,” a coordinator from People in Need assessed.

The video mapping of the ministry building is available for viewing several times each evening until Saturday, February 25.