ed. note: We are pleased to share images of the work of Leonid Steele shared by his son Alexey Steele, who himself is a painter of great force, a host of Classical Underground, and a friend of artsmeme (FOAM). Alexey and his wife Olya have organized a group in Los Angeles, Peace in Ukraine; as part of that, he has shared the works of his father. These images speak reams, and they are emphasized by Alexey’s words in sharing them. Says Alexey: “Art is the force of life. Art is the voice of the people. Art is the weapon of Peace.”
Leonid Steele (1921 – 2014) is an important Artist of the Socialist Realism School. He was a unique artist with the most significant part of his rich artistic life spent in Ukraine. He was perhaps the highest profile Ukrainian artist of the 50s, 60s and 70s to ever reside in the US.
Leonid Steele was born in the village of Lebedin in the Sumy Region, survived the infamous “golodomor” of 1933 and as a Red Army soldier was gravely wounded during the First Siege of Kharkiv in 1941. To witness Leonid’s town of youth now besieged by the grandsons of the same Red Army soldiers is unfathomable.
Survivor of war, Leonid Steele believed all his life in Peace and in People. He believed that all great art is about it and that serving as the voice of People and Peace is the most vital role of true art. He created amazing and powerful in their deeply humanistic expression images of Ukrainian people and his iconic works are now the anthem to the people whom he knew so well, loved so much and portrayed so compellingly.
“This horrible and criminal war that is now raging in Leonid’s home land shall stop immediately,” writes his son to artsmeme.