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Denver Art Museum displays print of painting by Ukrainian artist Maria Primachenko

The United Nations' cultural agency, UNESCO, said more than 127 cultural sites have been damaged in Ukraine.

DENVER — Some things destroyed in Ukraine over the last few months will never be replaced. 

Countless cities have faced relentless shelling since the war between Russia and Ukraine began in February. Since then, the director of the Denver Art Museum, along with dozens of others in the American museum directors community, has kept a close eye on the war's impact on historical buildings. 

"There’s not a lot we can do right now. There is expressions of loyalty, expressions of support, but we are of course living here in a completely different part of the world. But everyone is following it," Denver Art Museum Director Christoph Heinrich said. "We wanted to have in an artist that is relevant for Ukraine and we wanted to have a piece that was relevant for the situation right now."

The Denver Art Museum unveiled a print of a Maria Primachenko painting titled "A Dove Has Spread Her Wings and Asks for Peace."

"Primachenko is the icon -- is a national treasure of Ukraine. Everybody knows her. She’s on stamps, on a coin. People have her posters, her embroideries, things that are inspired by her work in her homes," Heinrich said. 

"The war in Ukraine is a war against the people of Ukraine, but it’s as well a war against their national identity, their culture, a war against their art. One of the first victims was that museum in Ivankiv, and that’s a museum where about, I think, 20 works by Maria Primachenko were stored and maybe lost, maybe not. That’s not completely clear yet," Heinrich said.

The latest reports are that Primachenko's works may have been spared, but so many others were not as lucky. The United Nations' cultural agency, UNESCO, said more than 127 cultural sites have been damaged in Ukraine, including 11 museums and 26 historic buildings. 

"I think when you look at art from other cultures, other counties, you really get an understanding of a shared humanity, and that’s what museums are all about," Heinrich said. "This is where museum people, art people, feel involved, engaged and as well in some way threatened." 

Primachenko's piece is on display outside of the Denver Art Museum on the bridge over 13th Avenue.

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