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Horrors in Ukraine prove somber muse for Nashville artist

An artist hailing from the Music City was inspired by the ongoing horrors of Russia’s war in Ukraine, as well as his ancestry, to capture his feelings about the war on canvases that have garnered international attention in a Washington, D.C., venue opposite the Russian embassy


By Staff

Nashville artist Wayne Brezinka was inspired by Russia’s war in Ukraine to capture on canvas how the conflict impacts him as someone whose family emigrated to America in search of a life free from oppression. 

Brezinka’s great-grandparents hailed from a Polish town, from which the family name is derived. They arrived in the U.S. at the end of the 19th century.

However “Brzezinka” has a dark legacy: The town was later the site that the Nazis chose for the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. 

So, when Russian forces invaded Ukraine, his thoughts turned to atrocities past. 

“I couldn’t stop watching and was dumbfounded at what was happening,” he said. “And then, I thought about my family being from Poland.” 

Amid that alarm and dread, he started channeling those emotions into his work. 

Soon, he received an offer to display his works in the street-facing windows of the Glover Park Hotel in Washington D.C., just opposite the Russian embassy.  

Brezinka’s “Facing War” show at the hotel prompted concerns whether his art might land him in Moscow’s radar. 

“I was a little nervous,” he said. “It wasn’t meant to be a stick in the eye but to express empathy for the Ukrainian people.” 

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