At Lviv, displaced artists help people cope with the trauma of war

Placeholder when article actions are loaded

LVV, Ukraine – In the early days of the Russian invasion, when one of Ukraine’s most famous visual artists left his home in Kiev, he went to the Lviv Municipal Art Center. Vlada Ralko settled among hundreds of displaced people who took refuge in the facility last month.

Now it is again an art gallery, showcasing the wartime works of artists around Ukraine – including Ralko, who spent weeks quietly here, drawing more than 100 maps depicting the invasion.

Around the same time, 27-year-old live rapper Stephen Bourbon added to his soon-to-be-released album a track equivalent to Ukrainians Armed. He changed the planned cover to one of Ralco’s latest maps and showed the bomb landing on the crushed uterus.

“The first week I felt so angry,” Bourbon said. “Now it’s a constant hatred.”

Over the past two months Ukrainian daily life has moved away from the front line and the total rejection of Russian things, coupled with the need to tell the world – especially the Russians – what happened here. Contemporary artists of the country, who for many years fought upwards against a Soviet tradition and against the difficulty of governing freedom of expression, now find themselves at the forefront of that storytelling work.

The Ukrainians are abandoning the Russian language and culture

Street posters in Lviv, which has become a meeting place for migrant artists from across the country, depict Ukrainians as white knights, medieval armored siege guards or men carrying tridents on horseback. The Russians referred to them as bloodthirsty bears, snakes, zombies with dead eyes and thugs with red skin.

Local musicians in Lviv, Ukraine, are organizing music classes in their hometowns for children fleeing violence from the Russian invasion. (Video: Erin Patrick O’Connor, Joan Murphy / The Washington Post)

Despite the rapid reactions of art in the metropolitan centers of Ukraine, those from the East lament that there was no similar response to the Russian occupation when the Confederacy invaded the Crimean peninsula eight years ago and started the war on the Donbass.

Vitaly Matukno was a 15-year-old boy in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine when Crimea was annexed. He spent his early years watching pro-Russian separatists and pro-Russian elements suppress Ukrainian power and suppress any hint of Western culture.

“They destroyed our city from the inside, so people will remember that things were better in the Soviet Union,” said Madukno, now 23.

Prior to the invasion, Madukno was an activist, organizer, artist and publisher. He hosted rave parties, planned art festivals and published a magazine featuring the works of his colleagues. Several months ago, on an abandoned television station in Licensing, he discovered recordings from 2002 onwards. He plans to create a collection of scenes from life in the area before the war in Donbass.

“These European liberals are saying, ‘We want peace,'” Madukno said. “They are trying to create a dialogue between the Russians and the Ukrainians [nonsense]. “

“Every Russian is guilty of what is happening now. We have a right to hate them. They are destroying my country.

Ukraine scans the faces of dead Russians and then contacts the mothers

At the Lviv National Academy of Arts, students turned a campus bombing dormitory into an art gallery to boost morale in part and attract indifferent and dangerous college students to use the dormitory when the city’s aerial sirens sounded. Upon entering, visitors are greeted with red bells and the words “Putin’s death ring”.

The duration of the gallery changes as one travels through the narrow corridors that bear witness to the lost. An exhibition tells visitors to draw something they have missed from home, many of which can not be retrieved on a small piece of paper, put it in a Ukrainian flag-painted matchbox.

A student who was in Kharkiv when the blast began recorded what he heard from his balcony 24 hours during the invasion. Throughout the recording, the teasing birds are interrupted by explosions. Over time, moments of calm only create anxiety, knowing that other shoes will soon fall back.

Why Russia abandoned the civil war in Kiev and returned to the major wars in the East

Rector of the Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Arts Oleksandr Sopoliv now lives in Lviv and works in the office at the academy. Of the academy’s 1,036 students, more than 30 are missing and unaccounted for, and one has been confirmed dead. Students have been working to get war-related posters submitted to an initiative launched by the school and viewed by Russians on social media.

“Now we give students more freedom when it comes to black humor,” he said. “It was not allowed in peacetime. Now it is really the opposite. A popular theme: the words of the defenders of the Ukrainian Snake Island to the Russian warship” Go [expletive] You! “Then the ship sank; Ukraine claimed responsibility.

Ukraine this week issued a postage stamp with an obscene gesture painting towards a soldier ship.

At the Municipal Art Center, where Ralco stayed before leaving for Germany, Bourbon now produces music on his laptop, the walls of which once housed scenes of pottery and Lithuanian photography are now covered with depictions of violence. Among the first works to welcome visitors were: a map of children being taken across the river by ghost boats; And across the sidewalk, a picture of a woman without trousers, four soldiers standing in a semi-circle around her, frightened on the ground.

Kiev comes to life again with a mixture of sadness, dark humor and success

Bourbon’s music once openly mocked the Ukrainian civic leadership. That said, the political climate seems far-fetched now.

“The words of my last songs about people no longer apply. Something is changing now that people are united, ”said Bourbon. “I do not know what awaits us after the war. If we are to live in peace and be committed to certain ideas and values, it is difficult to be that united being.

Violeta Fedorich contributed to this report by LV.

Leave a Comment