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Published on Aug 8, 2015
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KIEV: A young Ukrainian artist has captured global media attention by creating a striking portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin out of 5,000 bullet shells collected in the separatist east.
Daria Marchenko's "The Face of War" - a remarkably realistic and politically tinged depiction of Putin in a dark suit and red tie - stands more than two metres (nearly seven feet) tall and dominates the artist's studio apartment.
"Sleeping in the same room with him was a bit scary at first," says the 33-year-old artist and graphics designer. "But I got used to it."
She draws the window curtains and picks up a hand-held lamp to reveal how the 62-year-old Russian leader's face changes expression under different light.
His deep-set eyes turn from gloomy to more lighthearted as Marchenko - her own right eyebrow pierced and fingers weighed down by heavy metal rings - shines the lamp around her unusual work.
"He can be proud, confused or serious," says the artist. "He can look like a person on a Soviet poster or he can be Superman."
Her story has been covered by Britain's top media outlets as well as major European and Australian papers and television channels.
But the artist has received barely a mention in Russia - Ukraine's giant neighbour where Putin's approval rating is huge and denial of any involvement in the 16-month conflict is ever-present in the state-dominated media.
Only Russia's popular Moskovsky Komsomolets broadsheet broke ranks by devoting a two-sentence paragraph to Marchneko's work last month.