"Unconquered Ukraine"

The Great Coat of Arms of Ukraine, created from ammunition fragments, was consecrated in Kyiv

Anatoly Balchos | Photo by the author


In transforming these fragments into a contemporary art installation, the artillery shell and mortar pieces were left unaltered, preserving their original forms. The cast-iron elements of Ukraine’s Grand Coat of Arms were assembled like a layered puzzle and welded together, giving three-dimensional life to the figures of the Cossack and the lion. The original historic inscription “Workers of the world, unite!” was replaced by the globally recognized slogan “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes!” by the artist of Cossack heritage, Sergey Melnikoff, a.k.a. MFF.

The Sculpture of a Nation: An Artistic Masterpiece from War's Remnants

Sergey Melnikoff’s anti-war installation is intended to draw international elite attention to the heroic struggle of the Ukrainian people for freedom and independence. Known as MFF, the photo artist and multiple international contest winner plans to auction his creation at one of the world’s prestigious auction houses. Such an artwork, according to Melnikoff, is worthy of the attention of the oldest auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s.

“The “Soul of Ukraine” foundation is constructing a rehabilitation center in Albania for Ukrainian children who have lost limbs due to the inhumane war waged by the “Russian world”. All proceeds from the sale of the consecrated Grand Coat of Arms of Ukraine at the charity auction will be directed towards establishing this center named after Mother Teresa, an Albanian saint venerated in Christianity.”

— Sergey Melnikoff

The consecration of the Grand Coat of Arms of Ukraine was conducted by Archbishop Andriy of Pereiaslav and Bila Tserkva. The National Honored Academic Ukrainian Folk Choir named after Hryhoriy Veriovka participated in the grand ceremony.

Video clip by Ukraine’s National Information Agency “Ukrinform” of the grand ceremony for the consecration of the Grand Coat of Arms of Ukraine at St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kyiv on November 1, 2023

“This Coat of Arms was created during the war in a frontline Ukrainian city. It stands as a unique symbol of the Ukrainian state. Notice one particular element — the cross at the top of the display. The cross is placed above the crown, made from three mortar tailfins,” said Sergey Melnikoff, founder of the International Charity Foundation “Soul of Ukraine”. “The cross is welded from three bullets. Can you grasp the powerful symbolism?”

Sergey Melnikoff, the creator of numerous world-class masterpieces, believes that the value of this unique artwork, crafted from fragments of mines and shells collected across multiple fronts of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, could reach millions of US dollars.

The value of this future auction lot is also significantly influenced by the artist’s renown. The heroes of his grand international project “Face of Humanity” included world leaders, spiritual figures, globally famous actors, celebrities, leading businessmen, and scientists. Melnikoff’s pioneering work in modern photography methods has repeatedly won international awards since the last century. His panorama “Soul of Ukraine,” measuring 8 x 2.7 meters with a digital frame resolution of 3 billion pixels, became the most expensive photograph ever produced in Ukraine — the photo session cost exceeded $200,000 and earned a place in the Guinness World Records.

Welder Viktor Belchik was astounded when the world-class artist visited his small workshop in Odessa. Metalwork had long been Viktor’s hobby, but it had never involved creating such complex sculptural compositions as the one proposed by Sergey.

“This project captivated me. We spent two months selecting various fragments for the installation. Sergey didn’t miss a single day. Naturally, we talked a lot. He spoke about creativity, his worldview, and the artist’s mission in the world,” Viktor Belchik recounted after the consecration ceremony. “His works have influenced the worldviews of many people globally. For his contribution to the development of art and humanistic ideas, Sergey has been awarded by many world leaders. He supported Ukrainians with his art during the Revolution of Dignity. And with the onset of the full-scale war, Sergey joined the volunteer movement. Through our conversations, I learned that 40 years ago, Sergey Melnikoff, a Soviet political prisoner and dissident, had to flee the USSR illegally with his family. Later, for his principled stance on defending the rights and freedoms of the Caucasus peoples, he was awarded the title of National Hero of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria.”

“I am grateful to Sergey, first of all, for his support of my homeland. And also for introducing me to another facet of art connected with metal,” added Viktor Belchik, co-creator of the Grand Coat of Arms of Ukraine installation.

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