Putin bullet artist in Ukraine gears up for US show

Kiev (AFP) - Ukrainian artist Daria Marchenko first grabbed the media spotlight with a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin made from 5,000 bullet shells. Now she's finished her cycle of political pieces and is taking them on a US tour.

In her apartment-cum-studio in Kiev Thursday, Marchenko and her partner Daniel Green unveiled a series of striking new works that take aim at the Russian strongman and call attention to the war in the east of Ukraine.

All are made of the detritus from the conflict in Ukraine -- which Kiev and the West accuse Putin of masterminding -- including the "Heart of War" painting made from bullets of a headless man with oil pumping through its veins.

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"These pictures represent Vladimir Putin and other dictators," Marchenko told AFP.

Another new work called "The Brain of War" is meant to take on the propaganda from Russia's slavishly pro-Kremlin state media and shows a grenade made out of camera lenses.

"People ask me -- why do you work with materials like these?," Marchenko said, pointing to fragments of a missile.

"These are my paints."

Next week the duo will take the works on a tour of the United States from Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale to the Eli Broad Museum in Los Angeles.

Marchenko's breakthrough work unveiled last year was her two-metre portrait of Putin made from bullet shells she had collected in Ukraine's former industrial heartland where pro-Russian separatists are battling government troops.

After news spread in local and international media about her work -- titled the "The Face of War" -- Marchenko says her life was threatened.

"There was even an assassination attempt. And there was an attempt to kidnap me," she told AFP.

"The day these works will be gone, will be the happiest day of my life."

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