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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

“Occupied Art”

Artists from Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and Kyiv presented their works in Ternopil
5 June, 2014 - 11:24
Photo by Mykhailo URBANSKY

Exhibition “Occupied Art” opened on May 27 at the art gallery of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine’s Ternopil branch. It displays works by artists from Crimea, eastern Ukraine, and Kyiv. Initiator and curator of the exhibition, artist Volodymyr Hulich from Zaporizhia told the press that the occupation situation was the leitmotif of the artists’ works, who were now rallying together and hoping to change their country for the better. “Not all artists are Crimeans, but they are all concerned about Crimea’s fate. We always participated together in joint events and projects in Crimea and had a lot of expectations for the coming years because, despite the political issues, we were doing our job,” Hulich said. In his opinion, the Ukrainian audience understands painting best, and so the exhibition is dominated by this art form.

Hulich’s painting Sundogs depicts a seemingly ordinary sunny day on the sea coast, with holidaymakers resting on the beach beneath peaceful sky... However, soldier figures emerge as if from the trenches, and their uniforms reflect sundogs. Mykyta Kravtsov’s painting A Wounded Swimmer, and Gagik Kurdinian’s Thirst are also catching the eye... Kharkiv artist Irina Iliinska brought to the exhibition her artistic confessions of love for the hero city of Odesa, painted long before the tragic events of May 3, 2014.

Well-known Ukrainian sculptor Zhanna Kadyrova presented her plastic works belonging to “The Shots” series. “These are real traces left by bullets. I did it in 2010. It can be understood in many ways now, but, on the other hand, it is an abstract thing, just a portrait of the shot,” Kadyrova told us. In the artist’s opinion, even though Kyiv hosts many artistic events, there is a need for intensive exchange between cities, and it is very good to see artists from eastern Ukraine and Crimea putting their works on display in western Ukraine.

“We have taken in many Crimean refugees in Ternopil region and are very concerned about the security situation of all people living in Crimea,” head of the Ternopil Oblast State Administration (TOSA) Oleh Syrotiuk noted on his visit to the exhibition. Those who have moved to Ternopil include a co-organizer of the event, metal artist and smith Viktor Tabunshchyk. He told us that he had requested the TOSA’s assistance, with Automaidan members also helping him. Tabunshchyk is currently residing on the premises of the Family social service. “I really like western Ukraine, and I have never heard any local accusing me of being alien,” he said.

Exhibition “Occupied Art” will continue in Ternopil for 20 days, and then move first to Lviv, and later to Poland. The organizers are hoping for a positive response from audiences.

By Larysa OSADCHUK, Ternopil