'..between freedom and fear'

29 Jun 2023

'..between freedom and fear'

Bono's illustration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
, originally created for the June cover of The Atlantic, is now set to raise vital funds to buy ambulances in Ukraine.

From today, in the U2.com store, the illustration features on a limited-edition collection of t-shirts, hoodies and a lithograph – with all net profits from the sale of these items going to UNITED24, the official fundraising platform of the government of Ukraine. UNITED24's work includes providing life-saving equipment for Ukrainian medical workers and the organization has chosen to direct funds raised by this special collection specifically for purchasing ambulances.

Speaking of the collaboration, UNITED24 Coordinator, Yaroslava Gres said - "Collaboration between UNITED24 and U2 began on Kyiv Day, when Bono read lines from the Ukrainian capital's anthem. We are very happy about this new joint project, as it will help raise funds to support heroic Ukrainian medical workers. During the last year of UNITED24's work, such fundraisers allowed the purchase of almost 200 ambulances, and thousands of pieces of medical equipment: from generators for hospitals to ALV devices, from C-arm X-ray machines to rehabilitation equipment for the wounded. Every piece of equipment saves lives." 

Earlier this year, The Atlantic editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg asked Bono to create a portrait of President Zelenskyy for a story about how the outcome of the war in Ukraine will affect democracy around the world.

Working with Atlantic Associate Creative Editor Oliver Munday, Bono created the illustration of President Zelenskyy and placed it against a backdrop of the iconic yellow and blue in Ukraine's flag, along with a quote from the President from the article.

"The choice is between freedom and fear." - President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

In May last year, Bono and Edge traveled to Ukraine at the request of President Zelenskyy to perform in Kyiv as a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people. 

Of being asked to draw President Zelenskyy for The Atlantic, Bono said,

"Drawing for me is an excuse to stare at someone whose face or life I might be fascinated with. My drawings are not cartoons, but they are often caricatures of character. In the case of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, we have burdened him with impossible expectations - and impossibly, he has not let us down. I suppose that's because President Zelenskyy is not now one person, he's the Ukrainian people. How do you draw that? Well, you can't. So I tried to make an icon of his visage instead. A few squiggles and I just got out of the way."

Bono recalled that he learned to draw and paint from his father, "who put color to black and white Polaroids of my mother." 

Find out more about June's cover story on Ukraine, and why Bono was asked to draw the cover, from The Atlantic.

Writing in an editor's note, Goldberg said: "Bono is a gifted illustrator… I suggested that he make an actual Atlantic cover and Zelenskyy, a man we both admire, was a natural subject for his first go. Like Anne, Bono is pre¬occupied with issues of freedom and dignity, and, working with Oliver Munday, he made a stunning cover that captures the resolve of Ukraine's wartime president."

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