Discussion: Political emancipation of artistic practices in Ukraine

March 16, 2022

6 pm EET / 5 pm CET

In this discussion artists, curators and researchers from Ukraine will talk about their works dealing with the entanglements of past and present, memory and cultural decolonization.

Participants: Svitlana Biedarieva, Lia Dostlieva and Andrii Dostliev, Nikolay Karabinovich, Olia Mykhailiuk, Lada Nakonechna, Kateryna Botanova.

Moderators: Ieva Astahovska and Linda Kaljundi.

Since 24 February, the world has desperately followed the war started by Russian president Putin in Ukraine justifying his aggressive invasion of the neighboring country with the need to “defend itself”, “denazify” Ukraine and “protect people who have been subject to abuse and genocide by the regime in Kyiv”. In his hour-long televised speech announcing the attack, Putin manipulated notions of 20th century and especially WWII history, denied that Ukraine has ever had “real statehood,” and stated that the country was an integral part of Russia’s “own history, culture, and spiritual space.” The falsification of history used to invade an independent state, assert power, and justify his imperial megalomania, has suddenly transformed war in Europe from a thing of the past into an urgent catastrophe of unprecedented scale for millions of people in the 21st century.

The war in Ukraine began in 2014 with Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, and subsequent invasion of eastern Ukraine. Already at that time, cultural resistance played an essential role alongside political protests. “What the artists did next to the barricades, sandwiches, hospitals, and Molotov cocktails was also a form of survival art, careful and scrupulous, often anonymous documentation of day-to-day activities. It was the art of action, of intervention in the physical and political reality to affect the symbolic one,” writes Ukrainian cultural critic, curator, and writer Kateryna Botanova. “Artistic practices engaged and laid the ground for a different kind of society based on a common fight and, at the same time, care and solidarity.”

More information about the event, abstracts and speaker bios are available here.

The discussion will take place on zoom and will be livestreamed on Facebook (it’s accessible also for those who don’t have a FB account).

The discussion is part of the project “Reflecting Post-Socialism through Postcolonialism in the Baltics”, which analyses the imprints of post-socialism and post-colonialism in the region. The programme is organized by the Latvian Center for Contemporary Art in Riga in collaboration with Kumu Art Museum, and it is curated by Ieva Astahovska and Linda Kaljundi.

The event is supported by the Nep4Dissent Research Network, an EU COST Action Association.


March 16, 2022



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