The Maniichuk-Brady Collection of Socialist Realist Art features works by Ukrainian artists painted during the decades following Stalin and preceding the fall of the U.S.S.R. Many of these paintings depicted scenes from military life behind the Iron Curtain. However, these paintings were commissioned to depict idealized versions of the realities of war. In 1991, Ukraine became an independent nation and discredited the paintings as propaganda. The art pieces began to be systematically destroyed to remove all traces of Soviet influence.
In the mid-90s, Jurii Maniichuk, a Ukrainian-American working for The World Bank in Kyiv, began collecting these endangered works. Of the nearly 150 paintings saved by Maniichuk, only a small portion of them are represented in this exhibit.
Many of the paintings saved by Maniichuk depicted the lives of soldiers in idealized ways, such as them embracing their chidlren, interacting with young survivors of war, or simply showed the soldiers at rest. The bright colors and positive scenes painted a very different image than what war would have actually looked like during this time. Many of the soldiers depicted appeared strong, friendly, and calm in the stressful times of war.