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

“They came to think things over”

Den’s 18th International Photo Exhibit was the largest exposition ever held in Izmail
2 August, 2017 - 17:29
Photo by Valentyn TORBA, The Day

Kyiv, Sumy, Dnipro, Pryluky, Sloviansk, Mariupol, Lutsk, Lviv and Izmail was the “itinerary” of the Den’s 18th International Photo Exhibit which visitors say has left a deep imprint on their minds and provided a great deal of food for thought about this country’s present and future.

Our photo exhibit, held at the Izmail Picture Gallery of the Regional Esthetic Education Center for a little more than two weeks, became a major event for the residents of this region.

“The exhibit was easy to understand for absolutely all the people – both mature and very young – who came to us. Visitors would come and stay on for a long time. In other words, they came not just because they had heard about it and wanted to put in an appearance because it had caused a stir. They came to think things over. They would come in groups. Some preferred to turn to research associates who conducted excursions,” Iryna FEDOROVA, director of the Izmail Picture Gallery of the Regional Esthetic Education Center, told The Day (incidentally, the director says it is Ukraine’s No. 1 gallery by the number of annual exhibitions). “There were foreign guests – tourists from Germany and Switzerland. It is very important that people from other countries could also see and appraise the present day of Ukraine,” Ms. Fedorova continues. So I think the mission was accomplished. I’d also like to note the exhibit’s high artistic level. We must give credit to those who selected the photos that show a wide range of the things of our daily life – a lot of positive as well as certain sad moments. But this ‘rainbow’ in fact shapes our life.”

“This was Izmail’s first exhibit of this scale. I can’t remember all the three gallery halls being used for one exposition. No works of this format have been exhibited here before. Indeed, it is the imprint of a year in the life of this country, of the most critical and significant events,” Valerii PEIKOV, a teacher at the Izmail State University of Liberal Arts, says to The Day. “And those who wanted to see and understand the country’s life managed to do so. But, unfortunately, there are still many people here in Izmail, who are not yet prepared to accept this; they are not living the life of the country… And those who visited pointed out that it was a very adequate and well-prepared exhibit.”

Tetiana LIPSKA, on the staff of the Izmail Picture Gallery of the Regional Esthetic Education Center, says that many spectators not only watched the pictures, but also discussed them with each other and the gallery staff. Some of them, regular readers of Den, had seen the works in the newspaper. “In general, people show interest in photos from various places of Ukraine, and many liked very much the set of the previous years’ winning pictures,” Ms. Lipska points out. “So it would be perhaps a good idea to hold retrospective shows as well. People are also interested in the older photos.”

“The exhibit was timely and very topical. It aroused lively interest among residents of our city and region. We communicated with those who had visited the exposition, including even residents of Transcarpathia and German tourists, and heard a lot of positive comments on the quality and meaningfulness of these pictures,” says Anastasia KAPLIIENKO, an Izmail television correspondent, who covered the photo exhibit. “The pictures are very multifaceted – they show a lot of bright and joyous moments and do not shun the bitter ones. And it is very good that all the bad things that exist in our life are not filtered, so to speak. Joy, sorrow, and sadness go hand in hand. Very many visitors also like it that the pictures mirror the moments of real life, such as the children who blow at a flower or the old women who are not ashamed to laugh. It is the result of the photographers’ mastery.”

Anastasia also emphasizes the importance of the exposition’s “patriotic line” for Bessarabia. “We very often lack information, to a certain extent, about events in the rest of Ukraine, and this void should be filled. It is thanks to such exhibits, to the fact that the capital is meeting the provinces halfway to some extent, that this dialog is very effective. Exhibits of this kind are very timely because the capital must not harbor any stereotypes about our region and local residents should also be more in the picture about what is going on around,” the correspondent concludes.

“To say that the event was a success is to say nothing. The exhibit was a meeting between Ukrainians and Ukrainians, no matter where they are. Photography brought them together and invisibly touched their souls,” journalist Ruslan KARABADZHAK wrote about the event in the local newspaper Spivbesidnyk Izmaila.

Which of the pictures did the southern region’s residents like the most? The first place was awarded to The Wicker of Life by Serhii Hudak from Uzhhorod, the second to the weepy photo Beside a Friend’s Grave by Anastasia Ivanova from Odesa oblast, and the third one to The Heart of the Carpathians by Kyivite Yevhen Malolietka.

Our interviewees expected Den to organize further events in Izmail. These are possible in case joint efforts are made. The editorial board expresses gratitude to the Izmail Picture Gallery, the Izmail State University of Liberal Arts, and the Kolo charitable organization for helping to hold Den’s Days. Thanks to Kolo, school libraries in the city and the raion have been presented with the books Ukraine Incognita. TOP 25, while Izmail’s municipal libraries received the books My Sister Sofia.