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Civic Campaign: Make Ukraine better!

Category: by Dmytro Yatsyuk, guests, ukraine
Tags: , , ,

Ukraine is now living a very particular situation. End of one historical circle (period of European dream born with Orange Revolution) and beginning of some entirely new and perhaps shadow time, marked by political decision of a new government to abandonee European and Euro Atlantic choice for Ukraine.

In that situation, Ukrainian young generation feel that they must do something (anything at all), to make his own position about situation living by contemporary Ukraine.

In this actual environment, every political, social or cultural organization or part of civic society uses its own “weapons” of choice. Ukrainian feminist organization FEMEN, received the recent visit of Medvedev with his own performance called “Scratched by bear”.


Photo by FEMEN at Flickr


Other group of youngsters from Kyiv, start at May 11, 2010, a civic campaign “Make Ukraine better!”, intended to unite young generation of Ukrainians around of Ukrainian national idea, in way to remind all those who gave their lives for the country.

The bilingual manifesto of campaign (in Ukrainian and Russian) said:

In remembrance of those who fought for Ukraine and to together future – our initiative:

Belt for Belt (from famous UPA lyrics Lenta Za Lentoyu”):

We have different political views. We speak different languages. But Ukraine is unique for us. Do not be afraid to say that. Do not be ashamed. Do not forget.

Put the flag on your apartment. Add the ribbon to your clothes – to the day-to-day one and to festive one and to any one.

You want to make life better in Ukraine? Do it. Anything. And think about more.

Do you want to do more than just putting the ribbon to your clothes? You’re not alone : )

There are all sorts of issues needing to resolution, and actions that can and should be done. For example, today’s issues to be solved by civil society:

1) demand for joint vision of history – as the basis for understanding in the society;
2) actions for organization of civil society;
3) action against state corruption and the filth of personal responsibility of state representatives and politicians (yes, they also must live with respect for the law and must behave decently);
3) support to culture (not for kitsch);
4) support poor and disadvantaged parcels of society;
5) etc, etc, etc …

You can propose your own actions; you also can support actions of others. For more information, visit the online community Make Ukraine better! There discussions are made, there activities are organized. Why not?

You also can help to our action as follows:

1) Place one of the proposed banners on your blog / site: lentaua.org.ua
2) Send to us your beautiful photos with the ribbons, organize a section of photographs, involve famous people, finally, our action allows your personal PR : )
3) Create the design of the original ribbons, banners or other promotional materials.
4) To popularize and disseminate our initiative in the press, in the Internet, in blogosphere, etc …
5) Share with us your ideas. Write to us, don’t be ashamed in@lentaua.org.ua or join the community http://community.livejournal.com/lenta_ua or visit the campaign website lentaua.org.ua

Information about this initiative in Portuguese:
ucrania-mozambique.blogspot.com

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A brave new world with Konoplyana pravda

Category: by sophie engström, ukraine
Tags: , ,

When I was in Kyiv last I met some of the founders of the paper Konoplyana pravda. I was so fascinated by their project, so I decided to ask them some questions. Here is the answers from Zhenja Matirka, Sergio Azenberg and Taras Ratushniy. Enjoy!

How did it all start? When and who decided to start to make a paper?
We have every year during the Global Marijuana March (GMM) action in Ukraine tried to make a “paper appeal”, a kind of annual newspaper (but a bit unusual one, black and white made by RISO) with facts that one can not normally find in ordinary media . So the “start” was many years ago. Then we learned experiences from our close neighbors (from PL and CZ) also working with GMM in their capitals and their printed medias “Spliff” and “Konopticum” were convinced. That was our dream – a real (and legal) newspaper with real (and also legal) ADs. They had shown us how to realize our main goal, how to legalize ourself. So we started to work with our local crews, found the first advertisers and less then in 3 months our pilot, our first issue, was done.   

Could you describe the procedure? Like, how did you work together? Who did what, or likewise.
Hehe… During our work with the plot it was a real secret for everyone who exactly was responsible for what during the process. Konopljana Pravda has a virtual editorium – half of us has never met one another personally. Just nicks and short info in the google group. Graphic designer was sitting in Khmelnitski region, cartoonist in Vinnitsa, corrector in Minsk (BY) and also some of us were sitting in Kiev, Dnieoropetrovsk, even in India (like Dmitri Gaiduk, our editor). There was just one time we were working together in one room – four notebooks at one kitchen table. We’ll attach the photo : )

From where do you get your inspiration?
We get the inspiration from our readers. We are happy while they’re satisfied. We try to answer every e-mail and to publish the most interesting e-mails.

How do you survive economically? From sponsors or donations? Or both?
After working with i. ex. Global Marijuana March (GMM) for years, on our own expense, we don’t trust donors. Our project is therefor strictly commercial, we have ads. In our pilot the ads did look almost like sponsorship. That was because it was hard to be serious and to ask customers “We’re going to print newspaper in Ukraine? (Do you even know where’s it, Ukraine?) So do you want to buy some pages”. It was almost like selling air.
But when people saw our paper they called and mailed from all over Ukraine, and a lot of ad costumers said “Ok, we’d like to have a contract”. And a matter a fact, several new companies appears in every issue of “Konoplyana pravda”.     

Is the paper for free or people need to pay for it? Where can you find it? In Kyiv only? How do you solve distribution inside Ukraine?
Konoplyana pravda is for free. It can be found in smart-shops, bicycle- and roller clubs and on private parties. It is distributed by activist all over Ukraine – in Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa, Lviv, Donetsk, and other major cities.

How many readers do you have today? How many would you like to have?
Our current issue is 7.000 but there are at least 3 readers fo every copy of the newspaper. So, we think that about 20 000-25 000 people read it each month.

Do you believe that it is possible to legalize cannabis in Ukraine?
We prefer not to discuss the question of legalization. Firstly because everyone discussing it implies different things. Our standpoint is that the Ukrainian society needs to change its idea about cannabis. It’s not a black or white issue in reality. And after the experts discussion we have to establish the State Policy over the alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

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Ukraine write Freedom of Information Act with help of German experience

Category: by sophie engström, guests, sociala medier, ukraine, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

In today’s issue of Deutsche Welle Olha Wesnjanka writes an interesting article about the situation for freedom of information in Ukraine. Ukraine has a freedom of information legislation from 1996, but it does not include a specification on general right of access to information. The law therefor needs to be improved.

The head of Center for Political and Legal Reforms in Kyiv, Mariana Demkova, implies that to introduce a Freedom of Information Act in Ukraine will take a considerable long time, and this is due to that fact that processes like this are complex. Demkova refers to how the situation was when Germany implemented the Freedom of Information Act. Germany experience number of complex problems that Ukraine can learn from. “For Ukraine it is certainly important and useful to investigate the German experience: what stood in the way of difficulties in developing, how did it go to implement bill and to enforce the law in practice”, Demkova says to Olha Wesnjaka.


Will Ukrainians be able to get more information about
their rulers online in the future?
Photo: Sophie Engström

A group of Ukrainian specialists, headed by deputy Andriy Shevchenko, will therefor go to Germany to meet German collegues and ministers to discuss and learn about the implementation the federal law on freedom of information in Germany. Since the Ukrainian Federal commissioner for data protection and freedom of information will visit the Ministry of Economy, which takes care of telecommunications issues, the Ukrainian Pirate Party should feel some concern. ACTA traditionally works very close to ministries in Europe that handle questions like freedom of information.

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Bandera is still not an easy task to solve

Category: by sophie engström, EU, guests, ukraine
Tags: , ,

I was asked a while ago to publish an open letter to the Portuguese MP’s of European Parliament signed by President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal, Pavlo Sadokha, 
President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal “Sobor”, Oleg Hutsko and the 
President of the Association of Ukrainians Algarve, Natalia Dmytruk. The open letter is a criticism against that the European Parliament adopted a resolution on 25 of February of 2010, starting “[d]eeply regrets the decision of the outgoing Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko, is granted posthumously to Stepan Bandera, leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN)[…]“.

It is not an easy task to write an objective analyze how European Union, Ukraine, Russia should deal with the historical legacy of Stepan Bandera. I therefore hesitaed in doing so, and instead I refer to an article at Kyiv Post, published on the 13 of April 2010.

The open letter below was previously published at ucrania-mozambique.blogspot.com

ASSOCIAÇÃO DOS UCRÂNIANOS EM PORTUGAL
Rua Félix Correia Nº1, 2-Esq., 1500-271 Lisboa
tlm.: 967135885 / 964795123 NIB 506 695 107
e-mail: ucranianosemportugal@gmail.com

17/03/2010

Open Letter to the Portuguese MP’s of European Parliament
Dear. Mr. / Mrs., MPs,

It is now widely accepted that the European project has contributed decisively to the economic and social stability of the continent and to promote freedom and equality of citizens in Europe. Its democratically elected representatives consider the main objective of the European Union to ensure the welfare and protection of citizens rights, and for that, and based on the lessons of history, rejected any form of discrimination (racial, ethnic, religious, etc.). However, this does not mean the denial of historical and cultural heritage of the peoples of Europe, oppositely, the preservation of national cultures and languages, and respect for the historical past are some of the essential prerequisites for EU membership.

Speaking of historical past should be remembered that Ukraine never has any expansionist ambitions, and, oppositely, was the battleground of rival imperialist powers, with the consequent loss of sovereignty and national identity. During the World War II following the Nazi and Soviet aggression, Ukraine lost about 7.5 million inhabitants and approximately 2 million of Ukrainians were deported to labor-slave activities to Germany.

On the other hand, Ukraine, was also the scene of totalitarian tragedies, one example being the Great Famine of 1932-1933 (Holodomor) – qualified recently by the European Parliament of “horrendous crime against the Ukrainian people and against humanity” – that killed about 7 millions of Ukrainians as a result of famine caused by the Stalin dictatorship. At that time, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), headed by Stepan Bandera, was forced to use the only language understood by a totalitarian regime and that could receive the attention of the international community: language of strength. On 22 of October of 1933, the Soviet consul in Lviv was killed by a militant of OUN in retaliation for the millions of Ukrainians decimated in the famine genocide.

This fact regain an greater meaning if we remember that other dramatic moments of the twentieth century, there was a need to commit a similar acts. For example, between 1920–1922, the militants of Armenian Revolutionary Federation killed several leaders of Turkey, in response to the Armenian genocide; on 27 of May of 1942, agents of the Czechoslovak secret service murdered the British Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich, responsible for terror in Bohemia – Moravia and one of the key masterminds of the genocide of the Jewish population. 

Still on past history, the European Parliament adopted on 25 of February of 2010, a resolution on the current situation in Ukraine, stating that:
20. Deeply regrets the decision of the outgoing Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko, is granted posthumously to Stepan Bandera, leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which collaborated with Nazi Germany, the title of “National Hero of Ukraine” and expects that new Ukrainian leadership to reconsider this type of decision and reaffirm its commitment to European values.

In this resolution, Parliament claims his right to indicate to Ukrainians how they should interpret their own history. Moreover, what is the basis of what decision? Is there any sentence issued by an International Tribunal to sentences Stepan Bandera or Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) for collaboration with Nazi Germany? Have been carried out a thorough historical investigation of the Ukrainian independence movement?
It is important to realize that Stepan Bandera symbolizes in an undeniable and tragic way, a struggle for Ukrainian independence, finally achieved in 1991, was an inspiring idea to generations of freedom fighters and, simultaneously, the target of hatred of those who have imperialist designs for Ukraine.

On 30 of June of 1941, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union, OUN proclaimed the restoration of independence of Ukraine. This act represented a clear challenge to racial and expansionist plans of Hitler, which, in turn, wanted to convert Eastern Europe into a huge Germanic empire. Therefore, the German authorities demanded that the leaders of OUN abdicate its purpose, and at the refusal, unleashed a campaign of violent repression, forcing the independence movement to go underground and fight against the two occupying powers in Ukraine: the Soviets and the Nazis.

In July of 1941, Stepan Bandera was arrested and sent to the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen, where he remained until October 1944. Two of his brothers were deported to the extermination camp of Auschwitz, where they was brutally murdered. In the ravine of Babi Yar in Kyiv, alongside with thousands of Jews, were also murdered hundreds of militants of the OUN. Stepan Bandera himself also met a tragic end, when he was murdered in 1959 in Munich, victim of a secret agent of KGB.

At the Nuremberg Trials of 1945 was revealed a secret document of Einsatzkommando C / 5, dated of November 25, 1941, which invalidates any argument about the alleged complicity of Bandera and OUN with the Nazis:
There is evidence that the movement of Bandera prepares a revolt in Reichskommissariat, whose aim is to create an independent Ukraine. All members of the movement of Bandera should be immediately arrested and, after a thorough interrogation, secretly wiped out like bandits. 

In fact, what occurred was a brave and determined resistance of the independence movement against the violence used by totalitarian powers who wanted to order the Ukrainian nation to the slavery and extermination.
We, Ukrainians who came to Portugal in search of work and a better life, we have been committed to contributing to the progress and welfare of the host country. Many of us have chosen Portugal as their second home, receiving, therefore increasing visibility and relevance to our civic integration.

Therefore, in the dual capacity of Ukrainian and Portuguese fellow citizens, is urgent to repeal section 20 of the European Parliament resolution of 25 of February of 2010, in which the National Hero of Ukraine is unreasonably accused of cooperating with the Nazi tyranny. It is a moral imperative to recognize Stepan Bandera not only as a figure in the history of Ukraine, but also the universal fight for freedom and human dignity.

Yours sincerely,
President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal – Pavlo Sadokha 
President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal “Sobor” – Oleg Hutsko 
President of the Association of Ukrainians Algarve – Natalia Dmytruk

____
Attachments:
1.
20. Deeply deplores the decision by the outgoing President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, posthumously to award Stepan Bandera, a leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) which collaborated with Nazi Germany, the title of ‘National Hero of Ukraine’; hopes, in this regard, that the new Ukrainian leadership will reconsider such decisions and will maintain its commitment to European values;

2.
Open Appeal from Ukrainians to the Members of European Parliament with regards to the defamation of Stepan Bandera in the text of the Resolution of the European Parliament on the Situation in Ukraine from February 25, 2010.

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One-year anniversary of Ukraine’s first Gender museum

Category: by sophie engström, gender, ukraine
Tags: , , , , ,

Today, 3 of March, it is one year since the first Museum of women’s history,
history of women’s and gender movement in Ukraine
opened. I wanted to highlight this and asked the museum’s guiding star and director Tetiana Isaieva a couple of questions.

gmuseum

How did it all start?
The idea to create the museum emerged in 2006, after a group of Ukrainian journalists had visited Sweden with the Gender Program «Olga&Oleg», (this project was supported by SIDA). The group studied gender situation and gender equality in Sweden. The visit resulted in a first exhibition and we began to look for new ones. In 2006 we was not sure we could realize our idea about a museum. It just didn’t feel realistic, but we started to search for other gender museums in Europe and around the world. We investigated how other museums worked and what kind of projects they implement.

We have many who support our idea, and also some financially. Olena Suslova, Gender coordinator at the Ukrainian parlament, supported our idea and initiated to put the first brick. We got 100 UA (Ukrainian grivnes which is little bit more than 10 €). We understood that we could not make any exhibition from that contribution alone, but it was a responsibility, a start!
Also The Program “Equal Opportunities and Women’s Rights in Ukraine” supported our project and provided an opportunity to present our project to a larger audience in September 2008, within the Project «Exhibition of gender ideas and projects». In 2008 we could show our colleagues our collection of pictures.

In March 2008 our project was supported by the Global Fund for Women. Global Fund for women is one of the funds which support women’s initiatives around the world. And our first exhibition was presented in Kharkiv, on the 3d of March 2009 in Kharkiv national university within the Study Program for the directors of the gender resource and study centers in different regions of Ukraine.

Larisa Kobelanska – the Head of the Program “Equal Opportunities and Women’s Rights in Ukraine”, also assisted us to come up with the name for our project name: «Let’s create a Museum about us!».

Could you describe your activities?
We gather information about women and men, gender theories and practice, which shows ideas of gender in Ukrainian society. There are many different points of view on roles of women and men in our society of course. The traditional roles for women are mothers and wives, keeper of family. But I am sure that in in many years from now these roles may have changed a lot. One important question for us is that women have to have equal rights and possibilities in all spheres of life. During 2009 we created four panoramas of social feminine and masculine roles and twelve new exhibitions. For exemple, the history of women’s, feminist and gender movement, domestic violence, masculine problems. These and many other exhibitions will be exhibited at our museum. We will also tell about female solidarity and women’s and gender movements. We want to show that gender problems are not only problems for women but the problems of the whole society. One of the exhibitions is devoted to «Stop sexism!». We hope that in a few years we will be able to see sexist advertisements only at the gender museum.

What do you exhibit at you museum? How does it work?
Our collection consists of more than 350 items, such as pictures, study books, films, interviews, CDs and DVDs, different documents, souvenirs, children toys and books, the post cards and envelopes, household goods, such as “easy labor of women”, and even personal things from gender activists. We have some art projects too, «Gender in pictures», «Women’s face of Ukraine», «Fеmіnіsm is…», «Gender in children eyes», «Children against violence».

Ukraine has chosen the course to the democratic changes and we are looking for our own way to solve the gender equality. The «Law of Ukraine of equal rights and possibilities for women and men» (2005) and Government Program of gender equality (2006) are items at our museum. The government are implementing gender perspective in Ukraine but changes are rather slow. Nevertheless stereotyped ideas about social feminine and masculine roles continue to remain in society consciousness. Even in new books you can see stereotyped pictures of women and men.

We also tries to gather items about gender situation, about women’s movement in different countries. We are extremely grateful to our friends from Germany, Georgia, Sweden, USA, Italy, Lithuania, Korea and Vietnam.
We have created an Internet portal. And it is one of the most powerful Internet gender resources in Ukraine. We have a virtual version of our museum and a Gender Channel. Here we gather films, video materials, interviews and other pieces of information concerning.

What is your hopes and wishes for the future?
We are looking for new items to exhibit and conduct PR and fundraising campaigns for our project. We hope that the creation of the museum will increase the cultural connections between Ukraine and other countries, it will consolidate the women’s movement, attract journalists attention and the whole society towards gender issues.

In April 2009 we visited Frauenmuseum Bonn. We were invited to participate in the second International Congress of women’s museums and to get in touch with representatives from women’s museums in different countries. In September we presented our project at the Congress in Bonn and since then our museum is the member of the network of International women’s museums.

In autumn 2009 we prepared two exhibitions, devoted International action “16 days against gender violence” (2009, November) and exhibition “White on white”, devoted to International day of solidarity of women and unknown pages of women’s history of Ukraine (2010, March).

We are writing our own history, and also rewriting history as it has been perceived. Our society has to travel long until we reach a situation where women’s right are fully respected, but this is a start. We also think it is very important to show young generations how ideas about stereotypes are realized in our society and we hope to be able to create a consciousness about this through or exhibitions.

And last I would like to make an invitation: The First Gender Museum in Ukraine invites everyone for cooperation and interaction! And please, pass this information to your colleagues and partners! Become a participant of the project «Let us create a Museum about us!».

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Yuriy Zmorovych: “An avantgardist should always be in opposition to the norm”

Category: art, avantgarde, by sophie engström, music, theatre, ukraine
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Read the Swedish version here.

What is avantgarde? I ask myself while sitting with avant-garde sculptor, musician, poet and theatre man Yuriy Zmorovych in his chaotic but very cozy studio in central Kyiv. Books, sculptures, self-made instruments, videotapes, DVDs and vinyl records are stacked in a very wayward regime only known by Yuriy. How should I manage to explain the greatness, humor and the presence of this man’s work, by just using some few words? I ask myself further. For many the term avant-garde have elitistic, pretentious and even obsolete conjections. But Yuriy Zmorovychs avantgarde do not fit into this description. His avantgarde expression is playful, intelligence which feels current and contemporary, without being pretentious. It must be the humor that is key to, I think, for Yuriy has no problem laughing captivating when he talks about his own creations and ideas.

ЮРИЙ ЗМОРОВИЧ / YURIY ZMOROVYCH

ЮРИЙ ЗМОРОВИЧ / YURIY ZMOROVYCH

Yuriy Zmorovych has a great production. He began his career as an improviser in early 1970s. And in the early 1980s, he met the Russian musician and avantgardist Sergei Letov. This meeting has led to several collaborations, but in the beginning it was actually mainly film-making and Yuriy made two films together with Letov, improvised on the theme of creation.

In the 1990s he started to work with international artists and one of the more memorable was when he worked with the French group improvisation ARFI. (ARFI stands for Association à la recherche d’un Folklore imaginaire.) In a few weeks in August 1991 they played on a river boat that went from Kiev to Odessa. Between their improvisations, they all sat like glued in front of the radio and listened to the reports on events from Moscow. It was the time when the Soviet Union fell apart.

In constant opposition
For Yuriy, this was symbolic. He went on his river boat and broke new ground, or traveling in new waters, with avantgarde musicians who had similar views on the creation of his own. And in then same time Soviet Union came to an end. For him, avantgarde must constantly stands in opposition to the norm, fighting oppression and those who exercise power.

It was never easy to be improvisational in the Soviet Union, he says, adding that it is of course much easier for young people today to choose that path. Jazz was, for example, prohibited, and he tells emphatically how he, after several years of searching, found “A Drum Is a Woman” by Duke Ellington on a black market in Odessa.

– Duke Ellington had a great spontaneity and it has always been fruitful for my own creativity. But since I came into improvised jazz and avant-garde, I must admit that I abandoned him to others. Along with the Dadaism and Malevich, Ellington are my icons, Yuriy implies.

Yuriy would not want to notify other sources of inspiration, and responds that it could be anything. The rain, a cat jamar, no talking, cars driving along the street, or an internal flow.

The key to the avantgarde expression, according to Yuriy to listen to the spontaneous creative process, to dare to open the doors to the inner voice and not be afraid of what you hear, and the second cornerstone of the avantgarde expression is that always stand in opposition against the norm. This expression is found in the inner voice if you just listen, he says.

His untuned piano was a great beginning
Already in the beginning, in 1970s, his drive was to create a kind of noise generator or stream from the innermost of the soul and the body. He says that he therefor began to play on an untuned piano. An excellent choice, Yuriy implies.

– In my ears it sounded accurate, of course, he laughs.

YURIY ZMOROVYCH

YURIY ZMOROVYCH

By then he started to build his own instruments. The material was everything he found around him. Metal, plastic, cloth, paper, combined with a guitar string can make miracles.

– Like this, he says and picks up an old plastic bottle with a round hole in the middle. Through the plastic bottle, he has strained a guitar string. When he plays on the string, while screws on the cap, it sounds actually strangely surreal.

Avantgarde theater
In the 1990s Yuriy had the opportunity to become the creative leader for avantgarde theater Teatr AA. His partner was Olexandr Nesterov (link in Ukrainian), a legendary avantgarde guitarist and composer who dead in 2005. They worked with both amateur and professional actors. Important for the project was to lead the actors to learn to play instruments, and to act spontaneously, to improvise. This was not always easy, since many were trained actors. To release an already learned knowledge of how acting should be is not easy, says Yuriy.


In Memoriam Nesterov – with Kiritchenko, Коtrа, Zagaykevych, Letov, Makarov, Borisov, Yaremchuk, Tovstukha, Khmelyov, Ohrymchuk, Strelnikov, Klymenko, Zmorovych, Smetanin, Rudyi, Putyatin, Khmelyov, Makhno. NOTE! You hear Zmorovych in the second piece (if ou have any problem hearing it here, go to the website, see the link above) and not on the first, that is Yuriy Yaremchuck performing!

Teatr AAA got much attention, not only in former Soviet Union but also in Western Europe and the USA. But during the crisis years of the 1990s the sponsors fled and the theater had to be closed.

“Avantgarde should never be decorative”
Yuriy loves to to work with amateurs. He argues that the most important thing is to be creative and to be self-taught and that does not necessarily mean that you do not know how to create. He argues that many musicians or artists in avantgarde often are overly decorative in their design and not in opposition to the norm. He points a little at his compatriot Yuriy Jaremchych, he also worked with previously. But they have chosen different ways and is therefore not entirely agree on the avantgarde expression. At the same time Yuriy Zmorovych would never allow condemnation against other artists.

I ask him what he thinks about the future and he urge that he believes that a new generations will bring avantgarde further to new dimensions. The forms will of course be different, but the most incentives will stand.

– The human mind is collective, and our knowledge is shared. New influences will of course be added as our lives are changing. These are doors that the avantgardist should open. But how it will be can only the future reveal, he concludes.

And I am really feel enthusiastic by his optimism.

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Ya Gallery wants to make a difference

Category: art, by sophie engström, ukraine
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This article was previously published in Swedish.

Ya Gallery is clearly something beyond the ordinary. That stands clear after only a short meeting with its founder Pavlo Gudimov. Pavlo’s ambitions for Ya Gallery is anything but insignificant. He wants to bring large footprint on the Ukrainian art scene, not just here and now but in a very distant future.

But last fall Ya gallery unexpectedly came into the limelight. the gallery was burned down by an angry crowd. There has been a rumor afterwards that there was an exhibition about homosexuality, that caused the attack, but this was not the case. The trigger for the riot was that Ya gallery agreed to host a panel discussion, led by a gay organization, on the situation of homosexuals in today’s Ukraine.

– They had nowhere to have their meeting, so we let them use our gallery for their panel discussion. But apparently it was too delicate issue and many was provoked, says Pavlo. I’m pretty sure that anything like this could never happen in Sweden, right?

The young artist Volokitin Artem, who exhibited at the time of the attack, does not focus on homosexuality, even though his work can be provocative, though hardly by the tangent to a homosexual theme.


Artem Volokitin receives the PinChukArtPrize

Pavlo implies, however, that both Artem and Ya Gallery benefited from the attack. Both received attention and therefore got a new audience. But the gay situation is still difficult, said Pavlo.

Ya Gallery opened three years ago, but Pavlo founded a design workshop, or showroom, already 8 years ago. Ya gallery’s idea is to be able to work with the whole process, from the exhibition to the designing and printing the posters, the catalogs. Pavlo has tied five companies to Gudimov art project. They are publisher, designer or involved in contemporary art. He also implies that a major problem for contemporary art in Ukraine is that there is no infrastructure for art and artists. He hope that he with Gudminov art project can change that sitaution. Pavlo also stresses that the cross-disciplinary idea in Gudminov art project is what makes it strong. It creates a new creative environment and pioneering ideas cant there be created. Gudminov art projects publications is also the main sources of income and helps Ya Gallery to exist.

Ya Gallery with Pavlo Gudminov at the helm, also wants to change, influence and even to some extent determine how the Ukrainian art scene will look like in the future. Pavlo goes round the country to search for artists, young and old. The art he chooses is the one that does not trample already beaten tracks and he would not favor a few artists.

– Many galleries run only around 10 artists, but I want to have a broader base than that, he says.

He is not afraid to exhibit artists that never have had any exhibition. When I visited Ya gallery they exhibited two artists, two men in their 50s, that never had been exhibited before.

– They have an expression that fits our concept, says Pavlo.

– What do you mean by concept? I ask. That it is “Ukrainian” and fits the subtitle of “contemporary Ukrainian art”?

– Well, says Pavlo. The term “contemporary Ukrainian art” is an effort to give Ukrainian art a game room or space. And I want to help creating the content of that space.

– But is not “Ukrainian” just a word in vogue right now? What if it suddenly becomes obsolete, or really lame?

– Yes, I can admit that it is true, and to some extent we are using it as smart marketing. It gives the right sense, so to speak. We of course also sets out international artists. But there is also a huge lack of knowledge about Ukraine’s art scene, both inside and outside its borders. Can we participate in creating a knowledge bridge between artists and their audience I will be satisfied, concludes Pavlo before he hastens off to the next meeting.

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