Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

First Den’s Days in Sloviansk

Our newspaper’s photo exhibition moves from Pryluky to eastern Ukraine. The opening ceremony is on March 17
16 March, 2017 - 10:55
DEN’S BOOKS AT THE CENTRAL CITY LIBRARY WHICH WILL HOST THE 18th PHOTO EXHIBITION IN SLOVIANSK ARE QUITE POPULAR AMONG THE VISITORS, DIRECTOR LARYSA MAMEDOVA (RIGHT) SAYS. PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO THE COMING OF DEN CONTRIBUTORS AND PHOTO PROJECT / Photo by the author

“If you shade on Ukraine’s map all the locations the Den Photo Exhibit has visited, you will see that, as time goes by, fewer and fewer ‘blank spots’ remain,” editor-in-chief Larysa IVSHYNA said on the eve of the event. In the 20 years of its existence, Den has organized 18 largest national photo projects – competitions among professionals and amateurs for the best meaningful reflection of the Ukrainian “picture of the world.” In 2016 Den presented sort of a big family album of Ukraine. Its pictures show the people who shape this country’s face (they are no “hackneyed media persons” at all) and the events that have occurred in the last while. After the 18th Photo Exhibit in Kyiv caused a grandiose stir, it has already visited Sumy, Dnipro, and Pryluky. Now is the turn of Donetsk oblast, a region particularly important for Den’s “intellectual landings.”

This is not the first time the photo exhibit is going east. It would be more exact to say that it is coming back – it visited Donetsk in 2011 and 2013 and won a lot of grateful and warm responses from audiences. Ms. Ivshyna has emphasized repeatedly that the people from the east and Crimea, who have gone through a “catharsis” during the great face-off with the enemy and chosen Ukraine, are the most precious citizens and can stand in the vanguard of transforming Ukraine from an “oligarchic” into a “normal” country.

Sloviansk is a tragically symbolic city, the first one the “little green men” came to. It is here that the Russian-Ukrainian war in the east broke out. This city is also known for the staunch journalist Ihor Aleksandrov who was the first to challenge the “Donetsk mafia,” only to be killed in 2001. Sloviansk is now famous for high civic activism, but it still needs strenuous cultural efforts, the return of a non-stereotyped history, and a qualitative modernization of the elites. It is still to “discover” Ukraine. For this reason, Den’s journalists accepted the invitation from Sloviansk with particular interest.

The opening ceremony of the Photo Exhibit “Den-2016” will take place on March 17 at 2 p.m. in the Central City Library (2a, Soborna Ploshcha). Den has already written about this library as a source of the revival of culture and social communication (see “Changes ‘by the Book’” in The Day’s No. 80, December 27, 2016). The opening ceremony will be followed, at 2:45 p.m., by “National Dialog,” a meeting of Den’s contributors with representatives of the local community, and the presentation of Den Library’s new books.

Also on March 17, at 11:30 a.m., students and teachers of Donbas State Pedagogical University and all the interested persons will be able to take part in a debate with Den’s journalists and contributors. We invite Donetsk oblast residents to attend this event at the university’s main building at 19, Henerala Batiuka St.

“THE PHOTO EXHIBIT REALLY EMPHASIZES THE TOPICAL QUESTION OF UKRAINE’S UNITY”

Oleh ZONTOV, Mayor of Sloviansk in 2014-15, journalist:

“The Den Photo Exhibit is a popular and universally-known event that had a really long and positive history. It has been traveling across many Ukrainian cities for more than one year. People know about it, are tracing its routes and looking forward to it. This fact alone guarantees that Sloviansk residents show great interest in such a high-profile event.

“Fortunately, Sloviansk is now having a humanitarian ‘boom,’ and residents are more and more attending and showing activity at cultural and intellectual forums. And the interesting way the Den Photo Exhibit is held – the arrival of the newspaper’s journalists, the presentation of the Den’s Library, a lively dialog with students and residents after the opening ceremony – rouses expectations and attention. It seems to us that the humanitarian ‘boom’ is particularly strong here against the backdrop of the fact that in the last years before the war the identification of our region as part of Ukraine was being artificially suppressed, while regional identification was being imposed and actively promoted. It is good that residents are determined to have this gap filled and this dissonance removed. The materials of the Den Photo Exhibit are supposed to make it clear that ‘I am Ukrainian’ stands above ‘I am a resident of Donetsk oblast, Sloviansk, or any other city.’ The exhibit really emphasizes the topical question of Ukraine’s unity.”

The Den Photo Exhibit will remain open at the Central City Library of Sloviansk on March 17 to 26 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., including on weekends. Admission is free. All those who wish to do so can vote for the best photograph, buy a Den’s Library book, and enter a subscription to Den/The Day.

By Anastasia RUDENKO, The Day
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