Volodymyr Zelensky has asked Marina Abramović, the performance artist, to be an ambassador for Ukraine.
Ms Abramović, a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion, said the Ukrainian president had asked for her help in rebuilding schools.
The 76-year-old Serbian is holding her first solo exhibition in the UK and is the first female artist to have a major show in the Main Galleries of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Visitors to the exhibition must squeeze between two nude models to enter the show, or opt to bypass what one journalist dubbed the “naked gates”.
“I was the first artist to support the Ukraine war against Russia and to give my voice. It is definitely a repetition of history,” she said in an interview with the Modern Art Museum in Shanghai.
“I have been invited by Zelensky to be an ambassador of Ukraine, to help the children affected by rebuilding schools and such.”
She added: “I have also been invited to be a board member of the Babyn Yar organisation to continue to protect the memorial.”
The Holocaust memorial centre to Jews murdered by Nazis in Ukraine was damaged by Russian missile attacks in March last year.
Ms Abramović installed her work Crystal Wall of Crying at the memorial centre in Kyiv four months before Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
The wall, 40 metres long and three metres high, is made of coal and has large quartz crystals sticking out of it. Visitors can touch the installation, which mirrors the western wall in Jerusalem.
It was not damaged in the missile strike, which killed five people and damaged a building.
“Making the Crystal Wall of Crying was just the first step in dealing with new history and figuring out how to help heal our increasingly divided world,” Ms Abramović said.
The artist posted a video online days after Putin launched his unprovoked war. In it she spoke about being born in the former Yugoslavia, which was once invaded by the Soviet Union, and called Ukrainians “proud, strong and dignified”.
“I have full solidarity with [the Ukrainian people] on this impossible day,” she said in the video. An attack on Ukraine is an attack on all of us. It’s an attack on humanity and has to be stopped.”
Shortly after the invasion, Ms Abramović restaged one of her most famous performances, The Artist is Present, to raise money for Ukraine.
She was asked how she reconciled the transcendent nature of her work with the cruel realities of the modern world.
“I think true change only comes by changing yourself. By changing yourself you can change thousands and you can change the world,” she said.
“Gandhi was one example in history who made a revolution without dropping a single drop of blood.”
Ms Abramović is just one of several celebrities to be recruited to help Kyiv’s public relations battle to ensure continued support for its struggle.
Mark Hamill, the actor who played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars films, has raised funds to buy reconnaissance drones for front-line Ukrainian troops.