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Little Ukraine, Citizens send love to Ukraine

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | On Sat., Feb. 25, the Little Ukraine branch of Citizens bank, at Second Avenue and Ninth Street, marked the one-year anniversary of Ukraine’s struggle against the Russian invasion by hosting a postcard-signing event, sidewalk chalking and the creation of a painting to be displayed inside Veselka restaurant across the street.

Brooklyn-based artist Misha Tyutyunik, who was born in Ukraine, painted a new canvas depicting a Ukrainian family around the dinner table — a symbol of the resistance. A year ago he painted the existing mural on the bank’s wall, which depicts sights in Kiev, like the funicular and Darnitsky Most (bridge), plus Ukrainian history and mythology, such as the three brothers who sailed in and founded Kiev, the great poet Taras Shevchenko, St. Michael, the city’s patron saint, the bountiful wheat fields of Ukraine, a tribute to the Holodomor, the Stalin-created famine of 1933-34, and more. (A plaque explains the mural’s various elements.)

Artist Misha Tyutyunik, who a year ago painted a Ukrainian mural on E. Ninth Street, on the wall behind him, this time painted a canvas for Veselka restaurant. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Tyutyunik did a Fulbright scholarship in Kiev in 2018, during which he researched for the mural, which he originally intended to paint over there.

“It didn’t work out,” he noted, “but it seemed fitting to put it here.”

Bank staff collected 365 postcards — marking the 365 days of the war to that point — which will be mailed to Ukraine in a gesture of hope and support for the besieged nation. Donations were also collected for World Central Kitchen, which provides on-the-ground support for relief efforts around the globe and has been on site in Ukraine since last year.

Children chalked designs on the sidewalk in blue and yellow, the colors of Ukraine. (Citizens)

Nuno Dos Santo, Citizens retail banking director, said, “The mural we installed last year was intended to provide a space for community, gathering, solidarity and hope — to honor the indomitable spirit of Ukraine. We have been overwhelmed by the response. This is a true testament to the community — the mural has become part of the spirit of Little Ukraine.”

One of the 365 postcards of support that were collected. (Photo by The Village Sun)

Citizens is a new presence in the New York City banking market after having purchased the branches of HSBC in 2021.

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