“Ukraine EXISTS” exhibition at the General Assembly of the UN to narrate Ukraine’s two current realities: peace and war – project organizers


Kyiv, December 2, 2015. “Ukraine EXISTS” exhibition will be showcased in the premises of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York on January 11-22, 2016. It comprises two parts: peace and war. Authors of the project have decided to unite the “two realities which Ukraine now lives in”. The “military” part will be presented by an installation made up of four plasma screens. Documental video pieces on the events in eastern Ukraine subtitled in English will be broadcast on the screens. Civilian, “peaceful” part, will be represented by a selection of contemporary Ukrainian art pieces. They include painting, graphics, ceramics and posters, said Taras Topolya, musician, exhibition coordinator at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Our team wants to demonstrate the actual situation in Donbas that has been unfolding for over a year and a half. We want to make known the truthful and honest information about this conflict,” added Kateryna Nechayeva-Skoruk, director of “Vilni UA” (Free UA) charity organization, under the aegis of which the project is implemented.

The project is supported by the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations and Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. It is not state-financed. To accumulate the necessary sum – UAH 150 thousand the organizers launched a crowd-funding campaign on Spilnokosht online platform. UAH 55 thousand has been collected so far.

According to Taras Topolya, they chose the video format to present the “war” concept because in their opinion it is “the strongest tool”. “At the UN premises the viewer’s contact moment may last five-ten seconds. We need a “hook” that would grasp the attention immediately and point at something pro-Ukrainian. The video will be able to grasp the attention to the maximum and keep the person in front of the screen,” explained Topolya.

Video works by Viktoria Ivleva, Babylon’13, Ruslan Horovy etc. will be demonstrated. “Ukropy from Donbas” is a film by Horovy about Kononov family who spent a long time in captivity of the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”). “It is a very dramatic story. If we are able to get people’s attention to this story we will be able to show how tragic is the situation in the east,” made an example Topolya and added that the work has been presented in Europe and in other countries of the world.

Alina Gaieva, coordinator of the exhibition’s visual part beyond the video said that “no war will be present in the visual part”. The organizers decided to refuse from introducing the military theme into the arts beyond the video and to focus on its peaceful component instead. According to her, “one gets positive feelings from the artistic pieces but there is also a feeling of sadness. The artistic works have a powerful hidden message about the events that the country is experiencing”. Fifteen young artists from across Ukraine will be represented at the exhibition including Yuriy Shapoval, Les Ponchyshyn, Svitlana Dzyuba, Oksna Svizhak etc. “We have a long-standing tradition that we would like to preserve along with our territory, but we also have to look into the future,” emphasized Gaieva.

After the exhibition ends at the General Assembly of the United Nations it will move further. It will be hosted by the Ukrainian Museum in New York and will then move to Chicago, and afterwards to Canada. At the above locations the exhibition will be expanded with photos by Ukrainian artists.