The exhibition which opened in Ivano-Frankivsk on January 13 shows pictures taken by photographer, scout, civic volunteer, soldier of the Aidar battalion Viktor Hurniak, who died in Luhansk region on October 19 last year during a mortar attack (Den covered his story in No. 201 on October 28, 2014).
The exposition, entitled “From Maidan to War,” includes approximately 30 photographs. Friend and colleague of the deceased Petro Zadorozhny said the organizers carefully selected all photos, as hundreds of Hurniak’s works were worthy of attention. They wanted to show the best ones to commemorate the man who had saved many lives.
As noted by Zadorozhny, Hurniak was a great optimist. He recognized no obstacles, only tasks and time needed to carry them out. He was always looking for opportunities. Hurniak was a good father, husband, photographer, and friend. He never refused people’s requests, always trying to help. He enjoyed his work. Anyone who travels to the east of the country is aware of the potential threat to one’s life. Hurniak understood it as well, but his friend said his last mission was his desire, calling, and choice.
The exhibition is divided into three parts. The first group includes photos from the Euromaidan. Hurniak visited the hottest spots in Hrushevskoho and Instytutska streets. His hands and other body parts were hit with stones sometimes as well, but, free from fear, he always went forward, where there was a need for him and where a journalist needs to be if they want to take pictures of the actual events.
The opposite wall of the gallery houses his works from the armed conflict zone. Before becoming a volunteer soldier, he was strongly involved with civic volunteering. Friends and family members present at the event recognized his ability to establish contacts, to find things that were almost impossible to find. He supplied uniforms for Aidar soldiers, finding all they asked for. He then joined the ranks of the battalion himself, apparently deciding that it was time to make a greater contribution to his country. He did not come back...
“I think he reflected what happened in his works,” Zadorozhny said about Hurniak’s photos. “He saw it with his own eyes and documented the world around him. Having spent a lot of time with the Aidar, he could capture some of everyday life’s moments of his fellow soldiers, their departures on combat missions.”
The third part of the exhibition shows the life of the author. These exhibits include a picture of Hurniak in his scout’s uniform accompanied by a dog, a large portrait of the man, his biography... and a family photo showing him together with his beloved wife Iryna and little daughter Yustyna, who was born in 2012 and is now fatherless.
After Ivano-Frankivsk, the exhibition will come to Lviv, Kyiv, and other Ukrainian and foreign cities. It will definitely visit Ternopil as well, as it was Hurniak’s hometown.