#public art #street art #Ukraine #WAONE

Surreal Interactions and Enigmatic Narratives Unfold in Vibrant Murals by WAONE

February 27, 2023

Kate Mothes

A mural by WAONE of figures on a yellow background.

“Transcendental Moment,” Cluj-Napoca, Romania. All images © WAONE, shared with permission courtesy of Sapar Contemporary

Enigmatic characters sprout blossoms from their torsos, wear instruments for hats, or hitch a ride on a tiger’s back in the surreal murals of Ukrainian artist Vladimir Manzhos, a.k.a. WAONE. Drawing inspiration from religious iconography, history, and botany, his mysterious narratives often touch on themes of ecological apocalypse, cosmology, and duality. Uncanny interactions between people and an array of objects like plants, books, and anthropomorphized objects portray fantastical creatures or seismic events.

Based in Kyiv, WAONE travels around the world to participate in festivals and complete large-scale, collaborative commissions that highlight the complex relationship between humans, the environment, and the world we’ve made. A new mural in New York City’s Ukrainian Village gathers dozens of the artist’s colorful personalities and esoteric symbols together in one 48-foot-long composition. Backed by the colors of the Ukrainian flag, “From Legend to Discovery” marks the one-year anniversary of Russia’s war and highlights Ukrainians’ resiliency, courage, and their hope for victory.

“I keep painting, keep drawing, keep sculpting exactly the same way as before (February 24). Just one difference—there is no more doubt about what I’m doing; now I’m sure that everything I did in my practice before was right. Now everything that I do became completely conscious,” WAONE says. Find more work of his work on his website and Instagram.


A mural by WAONE of figures that meld into plants on a white background.

“Statics and Dynamics of the Plant Kingdom,” Fort de France, Martinique island

A 48-foot-long mural by WAONE backed by the Ukrainian flag.

“From Legend to Discovery,” New York City. Photo by Mike Vitelli, courtesy of Sapar Contemporary and The Standard, East Village

A large-scale mural by WAONE of a figure with its hands on a vase that looks like the Earth with an ear and a volcanic eruption from the top.

“Tectonic Shift,” Paris, France, in collaboration with Back to School Project

A 48-foot-long mural by WAONE in NYC featuring dozens of characters with the Ukrainian flag in the background.

“From Legend to Discovery.” Photo by Mike Vitelli, courtesy of Sapar Contemporary and The Standard, East Village

A large-scale mural by WAONE  in Versailles,

“Curious Botanist,” Versailles, France

A Mural by WAONE on the side of a building in Versailles.

“Curious Botanist,” Versailles, France

A bright yellow mural on the end of a building with two figures, one sitting on a plant and one with a drum on his head.

“Transcendental Moment”

A detail of surreal, flowering figures in a mural by WAONE.

Detail of “Statics and Dynamics of the Plant Kingdom”


#public art #street art #Ukraine #WAONE


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