War in Ukraine – The war is being reported live. In the third month of the Russian invasion, Ukraine is finding new ways to expose the conflict that has plagued its territory since February 24. Within a few weeks, the country redoubled its initiatives to document Russian abuses in real time. By using the artistic and cultural sphere to allow its population, Ukraine offers an unprecedented act that allows the “temptation” of war directly.
If the Russian army decided to focus most of its offensive on the Donbass region since mid-April, then the scars of the passage of Russian troops are already being told in Kyiv. The Ukrainian capital is now collecting some artifacts from the Russian war on display.
as related WatchmanFrom the streets of the capital, the Ukrainian Military History Museum decided to display the remains of abandoned Russian equipment: the museum in particular displays a charred Russian helicopter or the corpse of the Sukhoi Su-25, a Russian ground attack aircraft.
When Russian shoes become a work of art
If the war is revealed on the street, the museum also collects memories and evidence of the Russian occupation of the Kyiv territory within its walls. A concept that the World War II Museum in Kyiv has also embraced with the exhibition “Ukraine – The Crucifixion of Christ,” which uses art to relate the occupation of the Kyiv region in real time.
A practically unprecedented initiative in wartime. “Three days after the liberation, the museum staff went on a mission to collect objects accompanied by the Ukrainian army,” says Dmytro Heindinov, head of the museum’s education department.
Near the art gallery, the museum displays a red star on the ground, made exclusively from the shoes of Russian soldiers. In addition to passports, bank cards and other personal belongings forgotten by the Russians, there is also a charred church dome hanging from the ceiling or a room that restores underground life in a shelter used by the residents of Hostomel, the refugees during more than a month underground.
An ingenious way to bring themselves down in the aftermath of the events, which will therefore allow the Ukrainians who fled the country in the first hours of the invasion to see the occupation with their own eyes when they return.
Rooster, white flag and Molotov cocktail
If the Russian invasion is at the center of many exhibitions, then Maidan Museum Curator Ihor Bushevilo is already preparing for the future by collecting more ordinary objects to tell the Ukrainian resistance in its daily life.
We do not focus on the military history of the war. It is the case for other institutions. We try to collect objects that tell symbolic and emotional stories, symbols of terror and resistance,” explains the Guardian newspaper Ihor Boshefilo.
Among his holdings is a famous ceramic rooster. This object proudly erected on a kitchen cabinet in a just-destroyed building in Borodinka is fast becoming a national symbol in the face of Russian terrorism. A symbol so powerful and evocative that a copy of this ceramic mug by Ukrainian artist Prokop Bedasyuk was shown to Boris Johnson during his state visit to Kyiv on April 9.
The rooster was pulled straight from the building using a hydraulic jack with the permission of its owner on April 16. This seemingly banal object was added to the finds of Ihor Poshyvailo to tell Ukraine to posterity thanks to the ruins of small towns on the outskirts of Kyiv.
These objects can become small exhibits that tell the story of the life and death of these ordinary people. “They can show cruelty but also explain why Ukrainians are fighting so hard for their freedom,” says Ihor Boshefilo.
A dress still hanging in a wardrobe or textbooks in Borodyanka, pieces of white cloth used as flags of surrender to Bocha, thus complementing the collection already collected since 2014 in the Medan Museum. To date, the museum houses more than 4,000 objects, kept in a secret location, including examples of the famous Molotov cocktails used by protesters on Independence Square in Kyiv in February 2014.
As Artnet reported in an article published on May 9, the director of the National Gallery in Lviv is now talking about the idea of building or reusing some of the country’s underground buildings as exhibition space to allow cultural and historical heritage to exist, even in times of war.
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