Sculptures Inspired by the Resilience of Ukrainians and the Czech Hedgehog Unveiled at Pāʻia Gallery

Mark Zaref’s Defiance sculptures are derived from the “Czech Hedgehog” which was a simple but effective war structure for blocking tanks and armored vehicles.

the sculptures of Marc Zaref, Challenge! A Ukrainian solidarity projectwill be unveiled at the Art Project Pāʻia gallery during a group exhibition on June 24.

Challenge is inspired by the resilience and courage of Ukrainian citizens, as well as the stories of Zaref’s grandparents of how they escaped from kyiv and Odessa in 1918 shortly after the Bolsheviks invaded the region . This is a series of sculptures that symbolize their resistance and the united support of the free world.

“As an artist, I am grateful to have the ability to bring a visual voice bringing attention to the Ukrainian people and their plight in defense of their homeland and their democracy,” said New York-born Zaref. who received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and studied at the Art Students League of New York, the Center for Metal Arts and the Silvermine School of Art.

The shape, derived from the “Czech Hedgehog” (most often seen in historical WWII images on the beaches of Normandy), is a simple but effective war structure designed as an obstacle to block tanks and armored vehicles .

Marc Zaref

With three elements to support himself, Zaref chose the colors of the Ukrainian flag – yellow (gold) and blue – and white as a symbolic element of international support and world peace.


Designed to expedite manufacturing and material acquisition, the sculptures are installed in single or multiple units in indoor or outdoor settings.


Zaref has created smaller versions at lower prices of Challenge for Pāʻia Art Projecta multidisciplinary gallery at 77 Hāna Highway that represents emerging and established international, continental and local artists with a distinct Hawaiian sensibility.

The collective exhibition at the Art Project Pāʻia gallery begins at 6 p.m. with the pupus served. A band starts playing around 7 p.m.

The sculptures honoring Ukrainian solidarity are made of steel and paint, and created in unique editions and sizes ranging from 7 to 20 inches. They will be available for purchase at the gallery with prices ranging from $500 to $3,000. Single editions are also available for purchase on line.


A portion of the sales will go to Ukrainian Women’s National League of Americathe largest Ukrainian women’s organization in the United States whose mission is to promote and develop educational and cultural endeavors and provide humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians around the world.

“The artwork is a symbol of our time, the symbol of resistance against oppression and the importance of freedom,” said Tatiana Botton, owner of Art Project Pāʻia. “Anyone who is against this war should want to display the work of Marc Zaref, at home or in the office. It is an honor to represent Marc and his Challenge Project.”

To learn more about the Ukrainian Solidarity Project, view Zaref’s work, resume, and/or check out his studio, visit