"The Artist as target: war crimes and Ukrainian culture" Lecture by Mariana Musii and Svitlana Valko, curated by Oksana Shchur
When: 15.09, 18:00
Where: galerie weisser elefant, Augustrasse 21, 10117 Berlin
Admission free, registration obligatory

Public programme curated by Kateryna Tarabukina as a part of the project “The Artist as Prophet” in galerie weisser elefant. Exhibition curated by Valleria Schiller and Ksenia Malykh. 

Project supported by Bezirksamt Mitte von Berlin and Fachbereich Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte.

Art might be a tool of propaganda. Art has a power to undermine the state system from within. Despite this power and influence, an artist is always physically and mentally threatened in their relations with a state - both in a situation of war and when colonising annexed territories. 

The russian federation claims to be the successor to the USSR founded in 1922, and thus the relationship between Ukrainian artists and this state entity is a continuity over a historical period of one hundred years. The artists of the so-called Executed Renaissance were not saved from Stalin's repressions by their talent or loyalty to the authorities. Later, Ukrainian artists, as well as human rights activists and dissidents, were imprisoned in prisons and camps and deprived of venues for presenting their work. 

Today, many artists are in the regular army, helping civilians or participating in the documentation of war crimes and media coverage of the situation. Opera singer Vasyl Slipak (killed in Donbas in 2016), writer and activist Volodymyr Vakulenko (killed in the occupied Kharkiv region in 2022), writer and war crimes documentator Viktoriia Amelina (killed by a missile attack in Kramatorsk in 2023) are the most visible figures representing a range of Ukrainian artists, journalists, activists, the dead, prisoners and missing persons.

Mariana Musii is an art historian and communication manager of cultural projects. She has worked at a number of cultural institutions in Kyiv, including the Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Centre (Dovzhenko-Centre) and the Mystetskyi Arsenal National Museum Art Complex. She participated in the development of art projects and their promotion. She graduated from the Faculty of History and Theory of Art of the Lviv National Academy of Arts (Lviv) and took a postgraduate course in Cultural Studies at the National University "Kyiv Mohyla Academy" (Kyiv). Her dissertation research focused on the non-conformist art of Lviv in the mid- and second half of the 20th century.

Svitlana Valko, Ukrainian human rights defender. Coordinator for International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR)’s mission in Ukraine, helping to organise the documentation of war crimes. For 12 years Svitlana worked in the public health sector, specifically with vulnerable groups in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA). In 2014, she became Field.  She is one of the founders of the NGO Truth Hounds, a Ukrainian initiative that has since conducted thorough documentation work related to grave human rights abuses and international crimes committed in Ukraine’s Donbas region and Crimea.    

More information here: https://instagram.com/truth_hounds

Oksana Shchur (UA Nest)
Ukrainian curator, literary critic and publicist. Since 2022 based in Berlin, Germany, and works as a curator of UA Nest - Ukrainian Activist Program at Araminta gUG. In 2016-2022 she was a part of the team of the International Book Arsenal Festival (Kyiv), the major literary  event in Ukraine as a curator of the international projects and of the main literature program. Prior to that she worked as the editor-in-chief at Komora and Osnovy Publishing.

Curator and producer of “Zhadan / Gurzhy: Fokstroty” (2021), “Ukrainian Songs Of Love And Hate’ (2022). Co-editor of the anthology “Stimmen gegen Krieg” (Austria-Ukraine, 2022).

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