With the social and artistic project “For Freedom, For a Better Future... The Third Anniversary of the Euromaidan,” the Cherkasy Art Museum launched a series of events celebrating the history of the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917-21, the struggle for statehood, freedom, and a better future.
The museum is hosting a photo exhibition and an exhibition of works by local artists which deal with the events in Independence Square. The Sacrifice special project was launched there by People’s Artists of Ukraine, winners of the Shevchenko National Prize Mykola Babak (Cherkasy) and Yevhen Matvieiev (Kyiv).
According to the authors, the photo project Sacrifice, which includes six 2D pictures, is based on the events of the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity, which unfolded between November 2013 and February 2014. “We were in the middle of the action along with those who defended the New Ukraine, and we dedicated this project to our country and its people,” the authors’ concept of the project reads.
Babak told us that after the Euromaidan ended, their experiences had to be transformed into an artistic expression of what they had seen. “Our photo project caused a storm of emotions and disagreements, half of the exhibitors who presented their work at the museum opined that it should not have been shown due to it being so horrible and scary. Undoubtedly, it is scary, but it is our realistic artistic look at the events that unfolded in Independence Square and during our nation’s modern history. It is our interpretation, we wanted to convey not just a pretty picture of hollyhocks, but the moment when a mother learns about the death of her only son,” Babak told The Day. The artists believe that having seen this allegory, people will understand it and come to their senses.
Even now, the collective consciousness of the Ukrainian society still contains manifestations of totalitarian essence, and it dramatically slows the modernization of the nation, the photo project’s concept says. One of the compositions shows a cow with its body reflecting the events in Independence Square. “She gives birth to a calf, which stands for an anticipation of the birth of something new, an expectation that instead of another totalitarian monster, a New Ukraine will be finally born. This is an allegory of cow the life nourisher. It is flanked by delicious red apples as a symbol of purification. We had pictured her giving birth to a beautiful calf, but later changed it to an unknown creature,” the artist Babak said about the creative idea.
According to the artists, the leitmotif of the project is Ukraine’s age-old struggle for independence and civil rights. The whole history of humankind is that of fighting against tyranny and totalitarian regimes for independence, the right to self-fulfillment, happiness, and freedom. Liberty is attained at a high price, but it is worth fighting for because we win it not only for ourselves, but for future generations as well, the project’s authors maintain.
The exhibition will run at the Cherkasy Art Museum until February 26.