Banksy's graffiti in Ukraine. My visit to Hostomel

in #mywartimediary7 months ago (edited)

My idea was to collect (see and photograph) street art created by the famous Banksy. He has created them in November 2022 when he secretly visited Ukraine. A total of 7 graffiti - 2 in Kyiv and 5 in the region but actually it's Kyiv neighborhoods.

I captured the first one here in Kyiv in December and shared in my WednesdayWalk post.

The rest 5 were located in Irpin, Hostomel, Borodyanka and Horenka. These are small cozy towns very close to Kyiv. In the last decade, cottage towns were actively built there and young families with good wealth settled there. Those who did not want their children to grow up in a big noisy city with polluted air, but close enough to comfortably go to Kyiv for work.

These cities took the blow of the Russian army on the very first day of the great war, a year ago.


I didn't know if I was ready for this. I didn't know how everything looks there now. A year is a long time, and this year (a year started on 24.02.22) seems endless. It's difficult, and complicated.

Even the day before, I felt anxious and nervous. I was going to go to an informal meeting with colleagues on Friday evening, but couldn't. I was not in a mood to go out. I hid from my memories for 9 years, but they did not disappear but remained as an unlived grief.

Oh, BTW, the Ukrainian name of the month of February is actually an adjective meaning fierce, severe, or angry. The shortest and coldest of the year.

It all started 9 years ago in December, but February was the harshest. The month when the authorities started killing the first protesters just in the streets, here near the place on first Banksy's street art.

When the security forces led a completely stripped (COMPLETELY!) protester down the street, in public, and the temperature was around -10. And when they watered people from water cannons, the temperature was -18. These criminals have not yet been punished. And that government, which was encouraged and supported by Kremlin, was also not punished. So far.

I remember it very well, because my office was right where it all was happening. We were then almost used to the constant acrid smell of smoke. What I didn't get used to back then was the sound of gunshots. I remember walking from the office door to the subway at the end of my working day. It's dark, cold and windy, and suddenly I hear gunshots. I understand that they are shooting down the street, maybe 500 m from me, although not in my direction. And there's no point in running because the bullet is faster anyway. So I just walk the last hundred meters to the subway ...

What I'm saying .... even though, I can't imagine the fear, horror, fright that people went through on the very first days of the Russian offense.

Finally, Russian troops were stopped by the Irpin river. Our militaries with the help of civilians blew up the dam and all the bridges through which they could enter Kyiv.

I mean, if you live in a town situated near the river, have you ever thought of this river not as a place to rest or walk or swim, but as a natural obstacle that can stop the advance of the enemy who wants to destroy you? I didn't either.

They did not expect this. They were very angry about it, and shocked by how well Ukrainians live. Much better than them, the liberators who came to save the oppressed people from imaginary Nazis. Is it possible to have such beautiful houses and such good roads? No way. Things should look no better than where they came from.

In 1917 they started the October coup or October Revolution which was the beginning of the Red occupation of the neighboring nations. They then fought not for the fact that there were no poor, but for that there were no rich. They still do.


Enough reflections. On Saturday Feb 25th Nick and I got in the car and drove to find Banksy's work. My first driving outside the city in ages! Over the past 13 months. For me who can't stay in Kyiv for more than 2 weeks it was a big deal!


We drove north. From north the attack began. I haven't been to this part of the city for a long time. Nick showed me where their unit were in ambush, where they spent the nights, then where they dug trenches they slept in the open air in the freezing cold.

I needed the toilet, and we went to the Retroville shopping center. A Russian Kalibr missile hit here in the first weeks. I was smoking on the balcony and saw it fall. Now I did not see traces of fire and damage. Apparently, everything was fixed.



I bought some donuts on the way. This chain of Ukrainian supermarkets donates 4 UAH from each donut to the AF.

We stopped to buy coffee at a gas station. This chain of gas stations transfers 1 UAH from each liter of premium fuel to the fund, which helps the AF. They called this action consonant with the Biblical expression "an eye for an eye".

This is how we live.

It was rain for the whole day of forecast but the weather was nice and sunny. So sharp contrast with what I saw. Actually, everything was absolutely contrasting.

I didn't photograph everything. Although these streets and houses have already been shown many times by various media around the world, I always had a feeling of inadequacy of a person with a camera here. Yes, I'm not a professional photographer, that's probably why...

This was a block of townhouses built recently.


The first thing that struck me were the children. Many parents with children in baby strollers. They walk passing burnt and destroyed houses. Would these little kids remember what they saw in their early childhood? Hopefully not.



Many playgrounds all around. They are new and colorful, small castles or pirate's ships.


We dropped the car near a small street market. I didn't photograph it. People were selling veggies, fruits, home-made sausages.

Nearby stood a tent and a couple of people receiving humanitarian aid. It was a small package.

Description on the shield - Gostomel Glass Factory.


This is the first destroyed tank of AFU I saw with my own eyes. Its tower was torn off probably due to the explosion of ammo. It was simply installed back later.





Look at the house on the right. Seems that a part of the wall is all that left after the explosion. Everything else is recent restauration.




Banksy painted a woman in a bathrobe, with curlers in a gas mask and with a fire extinguisher on the wall of a ruined house.

photo: Ed Ram, source -

This house is literally next to Gostomel Airport (Antonov Airport). On the day of the invasion, the landing begun from Russian helicopters.

Okay. Shortly after the news about Banksy's graffiti spread all over the media, an attempt was made to steal it. There were 8 thieves, they are young well-off people. The police detained them. But I was never able to find out what happened to the graffiti.

That's why I've posted a pre-hijacking photo here for you to see. It's cool.

photo: The Art Newspaper, source

And this is my photo of how the building looks now. During the pre-trial investigation, an art examination was conducted, according to the results of which the value of the painting by the British artist was determined - more than 9 million UAH (~ $245,000).





The building has no roof, the ceilings between the floors inside are also destroyed. I think it was left only because of Banksy, or maybe until the end of the investigation. On both sides of it are heaps of several meters of bricks and pieces of concrete. This is all that is left of someone's home.





Where are the residents of these houses now? Will they ever return to their city? Or their country?..




The territory of Antonov airport seems to be right behind this fence. We drove to the checkpoint and I tried my luck. I asked security if I can pass but they said I need a pass or permission. Well, no luck here.

Are other Banksy's graffiti still there?

The next destination is Borodyanka. The most striking of all towns I visited on that day. But about that in my next post.


How can graffiti be stolen??? Were the bricks themselves taken? It must have been a difficult trip for you :(

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How can graffiti be stolen??? Were the bricks themselves taken?

it was painted on the insulation covering the wall ((

It must have been a difficult trip for you :(

on that day, I was okay, I thought so. but it's been three days, and I feel worse and worse and I today I'm going to visit a doctor 😨

I hope you get well soon, I'll keep you in my prayers :(


cool, long time and don't come here, and you made a intersing post, always loved banksy

Destructions, these photos are reminding WWII movies. Putin should pay for all these things. Stay safe!

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Seeing the neighborhood photos are breaking my heart. I hope you are feeling okay after the visit...

Well, everything is relative...

good photo,can't imagine what a fierce battle happened there.

My work mate is from Hostomel. He with wife and 5 y.o. daughter was there during the first days. And he shared his story... but I believe there is no words to describe this horrible experience.
At least, he and his lived once are alive and in safety now.

Thank you for your comment 💙💛

I am curious to know why Banksy does not go to Donetsk or Lugansk to see the destruction of civilians homes? I feel sad for the Ukrainian people whose homes have been destroyed by the current war. But we shouldn't forget the many civilians, who identify as Russian, whose lives have been destroyed by this war in the Donetsk and Lugansk.
P.s. you mention non existent Nazis in Ukraine. Let us be honest about this. There are many neo Nazi military formations in the Ukrainian army, the Azov regiment being the most famous. Across Ukraine Stepan Bandera, who collaborated with the genocidal activities of the German Wehrmacht during World War 2, is widely celebrated throughout parts of Ukraine as a national hero. There are hundreds of streets across Ukraine named after him and the other leaders of Ukrainian fascism. Large numbers of Ukrainians are rightly horrified by what Bandera and his henchmen got up to but sadly there are substantial numbers of people in Ukraine who still celebrate this genocidal Nazi.

I am curious to know why Banksy does not go to Donetsk or Lugansk to see the destruction of civilians homes?

I cannot answer for him.

But we shouldn't forget the many civilians, who identify as Russian, whose lives have been destroyed by this war in the Donetsk and Lugansk.

Only those who identify as Russian? What about Ukrainians who lived (or still live) in Donetsk and Lugansk? Do they deserve sympathy?

Seems that you are interested in the history of Ukraine. That's fine, but you should know the full version. History is a fact, not their interpretation in media or propaganda. Do you know what Stepan Bandera fought for? You mentioned Ukrainian fascism, and genocide, but you should google about fascism term before using such words.

For decades, Russian propaganda has publicly distorted the definitions of Nazism, nationalism, and fascism. Accusing the authorities of Ukraine of Nazism and describing Ukraine as a Nazi state is one of the main narratives of Russian propaganda.

Military operations begin with information warfare. Russia started its information war long before the attack on the first country. She has enough money to sponsor information warfare around the world.

I sincerely feel sorry for the people who became victims of the information war and believed the lies. On both sides. If you read my post, then you want to know the truth. Now it is very important not to become a victim of anyone's manipulations. If you can't verify what you read, you better not take sides.

Sadly, both Ukrainians and Russians in Donestk and Lugansk are being affected by the shelling of civilian settlements by the Ukrainian armed forces.
I stand for peace between the people of Ukraine and Russia and have no time for the leadership of either nation.
I'm not taking any side. As a historian I try to ascertain the facts objectively. I studied the history of fascism for my doctoral thesis so I know only too well about the Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera and the many war crimes he and his organization were responsible for.
Terms such as Nazi and fascist should not be used lightly but I am sorry to say that in Ukraine there is a minority of the population who have an affiliation to neo-Nazism. It is not just in Ukraine that neo-fascism has emerged in recent decades. In Germany neo Nazis have made a resurgence with the Alternative for Germany party which denies the genocidal crimes of the Wehrmacht in World War 2.

I love it ❤️❤️🤩

What exactly?

Everything your entire post and photos are amazing

Destroyed houses are ... amazing?

I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't agree with the destruction of houses or in favor of war or anything like that. But I want to say that your photos are amazing to portray the reality in which you are there, I know that now is hard to live and go through these situations but at least thanks to images like the one you share helps us to see how hard it is, sorry if I didn't explain wrong.
Stay safe

Thank you for this clarification.

we can only keep praying for you's guys and the return of peace

Thanks for your kind words. Also, with NFT for Peace Project you can join and make you submission for people in Ukraine.💖 Just go to and buy some NFT or raise an existing level. Your funds will go directly to civilian victims of the war.

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what evocative photographs, @zirochka thank you for showing us life on the ground
Russian warship
Go fuck yourself

Stay safe

You recognized the inscription on the truck! 😉

I read a lot a hell of a lot!! about Ukraine, not just the putin's war, stalin's purges but going back as far as Kyivan Rus and the formation of the USSR.

Slava Ukraini

Geroyam Slava!

Of which you are one.

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You are brave to go on this journey. I cannot even imagine how emotional it must have been. I'm sure those photos only show small part of the horrors that people there were going through.

It's good to see that playgrounds are being built for kids to feel some safety and maybe to distract them a little bit.

Take care my dear! 😘

I thought that I should look into the eyes of fear.

You know, those playgrounds, and kids were for me a sign of hope and life that continues despite all.

@tipu curate


Thank you very much for the beer token! @zirochka 🍺

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Sorry I didn't see this when it was still active. I'm glad I got to see it now. Thank you. I hope it's over soon.

Greetings from Vienna, we wish us peace! Make love not war.🙏


If you wondering why my reply to you got flagged, I already send it to @hivewatchers...

Yes, I do. What could you do wrong?

This is what I ask myself since six days...

This is why I appreciate the comments. Any comments. At least I got known what's wrong

The account is not blacklisted.

Which account? Why I get Downvotes here then? It's a post for peace not war.

You tagged us and said in the above comment that you get HW blacklist micro downvotes from the spaminator.
I said that it is impossible as this account is not blacklisted.

You read our reply in Discord where I already explained that this account is not blacklisted.

Also, as you can see in your above comment, there is no spaminator blacklist downvote on it.