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February 24, 2023, marked one year since Ukrainians had their world turned upside down after Russia invaded their country. Over the course of this harrowing year, the Ukrainian people have inspired the world with their tenacity and unwillingness to relent to Russia. As the war marches on, Ukrposhta—the Ukrainian Postal Service—has issued a new commemorative stamp to raise funds for the armed forces. And this particular stamp features a mural by famed British street artist Banksy.
The stamp features Banksy's stencil of a judo match where a young boy flips an older man on his back. The work is a sly reference to Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, who has a black belt in judo. The David and Goliath dynamic is very clear, but to really make a real point of the underdogs sticking it to the big bully, Ukrposhta added the phrase “FCK PTN” in Cyrillic in the bottom left corner.
Banksy painted the piece, along with several other stencils, in November 2022. This particular stencil is located in Borodyanka. Located about 30 miles outside of Kyiv, this town was heavily bombarded during the battle for Kyiv. Printed in a limited edition of 250,000, it's one of several stamps that the post office has released over the last year. And, as always, people lined up to show their support and purchase the special stamp.
“This day feels like the beginning of a new countdown,” shared Ukrposhta in a statement released on Facebook. “After all, February 24 then and February 24 now are like two different worlds. And we today cannot be recognized.
“There is no panic, doubt, or fear spreading between us. What lies between us is pride, togetherness, shared grief, and a goal to achieve that everyone stands still. There is no other way to resist. And otherwise, we can't.”
For one local resident, the image is the perfect visual to symbolize the war. “I think the boy is a symbol of a small Ukraine which defeats the big man, Russia. It’s very representative of the situation,” shared Nataliia Hrebeniuk. And judging by the crowds waiting to purchase the stamp on Friday, many agreed with her.
A 50-year-old economist named Svetlana told The Guardian that she was there to buy stamps “because I support the Ukrainian armed forces” and “the stamp is printed at a historic moment.” And 26-year-old Maxime stated that it was thrilling to see Banksy on the stamp. “It’s a very cool gesture for the world to understand Ukraine, that we remain in the spotlight.”
While the Banksy stamp isn't currently available for online purchase, other art stamps and merchandise to support the war effort can be found on the Ukrposhta website. It's also possible to purchase a special subscription to receive all future commemorative stamps, as the post office will continue to issue new designs throughout the year.
The Ukrainian post office has released a commemorative stamp featuring a Banksy stencil that was painted near Kyiv in November 2022.
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h/t: [The Guardian]