Ukraine Month in Europe is over, and we are happy to say that the program was implemented in 15 cultural centres in 9 countries. Organisations prepared various activities, from discussions to concerts and theatre plays. The project has united cultural organisations from all over Europe and beyond to reflect on changes brought to Ukrainian and international communities by unjustified Russia’s aggression.
What events happened within this month?
Malý Berlín in Slovakia has organised a discussion called “Evening with our Neighbors” with Ukrainians who moved to the city of Trnava. During the discussion, they discussed important questions: How do they live there? What stories did they experience during this year? What commonalities and differences do they see between their culture and ours? What stereotypes do they fight?
The organisation has also exhibited a photo show called “The Normal Life”. The exhibition presented a selection of photographs by well-known Ukrainian photographer Maxim Dondyuk taken in 2022 in the Kyiv and Kharkiv regions.
The month concluded with the concert of the Ukrainian folk, trip-hop and psychedelic band “Tik Tu”, with the money from the concert coming to Musicians Defend Ukraine charity.
Malý Berlín, in collaboration with Nová Cvernovka in Bratislava, Slovakia, has organised a series of discussions with politicians, businessmen, representatives of NGOs and volunteers about ways that Slovakia was engaged in help of displaced Ukrainians and what role the country can take in the future reconstruction of Ukraine after the war. They have also hosted the Ukrainian Oscar-nominated documentary film screening and performance connecting Ukrainian poetry read by a Slovak actor and a Ukrainian translator and music.
Nová Synagóga in Žilina, Slovakia, has organised a concert called Jazz United on the 24th of February, inviting Ukrainian base player Rodion Sun Lion to play with his musical friends from Prague – top jazz musician Marcel Barta and singer Hana Varadzinova. “We do not forget our friends who continue to suffer because of Russian aggression. We donate the proceeds to the NGO Ukrainian House Žilina, in which Ukrainians living in Žilina help their compatriots,” said Róbert Blaško from Nová Synagóga.
Association Divadelná Nitra, with its cultural centre bod.K7 in Nitra, Slovakia, organised a number of workshops and a screening of a Slovak documentary film about Izium, a town in the east of the Kharkiv region for which fierce battles took place. They have also prepared an exhibition of “Neverending posters” with Ukrainian illustrator Mykola Kovalenko who created one poster every day of the war. The exhibition in the Gallery Behind the Glass (gallery space of bod.K7) presented a selection of posters commemorating a devastating war during 365 days.
Casa Zemstvei in Chisinau, Moldova, has organised a very eventful month, with a large program of Ukrainian documentary films presented by their authors, a series of master classes for children from Ukraine and Moldova, an exhibition of visual art (referencing key events that have unfolded over almost two decades of Ukraine’s recent history), discussion on the role of culture in times of crisis that hosted experts from Ukrainian, Georgian, Moldovian and Belorussian cultural organisations. The month’s closing party took place in Queer Cafe, inviting DJs from Moldova, Switzerland and Ukraine.
D6: Culture in Transit, an organisation from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, has organised a discussion with Ukrainian artists Alexandra Krolikowska and Karolina Uskakovych to share practices in response to the climate crisis, work heritage and the industrial pasts of the UK and Ukraine. The event took place in the iconic Common Room of Great North, former The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers.
Fabryka Sztuki in Lodz, Poland, has organised an outstanding number of artistic and educational events presented to a wide audience by Ukrainian artists. The organization presented exhibition “Foreign body” consists of illustrations from an online project about issues surrounding refugeeism, images viewed very emotionally and individually through the eyes of ordinary people. Another photo exhibition, “Where does inspiration live?” about love and nostalgia about beautiful places in Ukraine people had to leave. Besides them, Fabryka organised a painting exhibition Times are changing, which presented the works of Aia Kora / Anastasiia Skolozdra – a young artist, born in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.
Fabryka Sztuki also organised a concert of Ukrainian groups Kinva and a concert with a big selection of Ukrainian-Polish groups called “Gathering for Peace”. The performance “Tales for Sofia” told a story of a family writing new fairy tales for their daughter, who left Ukraine with her grandparents. Interactive performance for children “Mister Chaos” for preschool and early school children taught kids to better understand themselves and listen to their thoughts. “WINGS” was a meeting with Ukrainian poetry and music. The program included readings of the participants’ poetry and performance of contemporary Ukrainian songs.
Noi Re-Creăm in Timisoara and UKRAiNATV project in Krakow presented selected live performances, audio-visual activities and screenings of Ukrainian video art together with live acts of music and DJ sets.
Fabrika Tbilisi in Georgia has organised a big exhibition of war photography, including 12 photographers from Ukraine and Georgia showcasing images from the recent 2022 Russia-Ukraine and 2008 Russia-Georgia wars. The exhibition took place in Tbilisi and also in Gori, which was heavily bombed using cluster munitions and then occupied by Russian forces in 2008. On the 21 May, Fabrika organised an open-air Craft Market – Awesome Ukraine, where Georgian community had a chance to find various Ukrainian handicrafts, national dishes, clothes, handmade accessories, paintings and more.
Městská divadla pražská in Czech Republic is an organisation of Municipal Theaters of Prague that has prepared a selection of theatre performances and participative performative actions. It started with an audio walk, “Various people at the Main Station”. The lyrics were created on the basis of interviews with Ukrainians who, because of the war, had to decide whether to stay and fight or run to safety. They have also facilitated theatrical meetings between students of DAMU and FAMU with their “classmates” from theatre schools in Kharkiv, Kyiv and Lviv. Ukrainian band Dakh Daughters presented their cabaret appeal Danse Macabre. The production is a fictitious diary from Ukraine, which refers to the past, quotes from folklore and overheard conversations, and constructs a picture of Ukrainian national identity from individual fragments. The month of Ukraine ended with a premiere of Oleksii Dorychevsky’s “How to know how to Steal”, a play about basic rules of how to appropriate the soul of foreign nations and show how little is enough to lose not only our property but also the entire country and culture. Theatre Cafe also hosted an exhibition of Ukrainian anti-war posters.
Kaņepes Kultūras centrs in Riga, Latvia, has organised a number of film screenings, lectures and discussions, including those dedicated to raising awareness of the city of Mariupol. The short films that are going to be shown were directed by various Ukrainian filmmakers between 2016 and 2022. They tell stories of everyday life, dreams, and hopes about the future and the past, and the realities of the war. Kanapes has also hosted “Night of Ukrainian wartime poetry”, written by authors who are currently fighting and volunteering in Ukraine and refugees living in Riga. Also, there were workshops about comic writing, zine making and discussion about Ukrainian contemporary art, organised by Ukrainian artists for Ukrainian and Latvian audiences. WHEN WAR WILL END was a screening of Ukrainian media art, with video art screenings and audiovisual performances of Ukrainian artists.
IBOAT in Bordeaux, France, has organised a concert of the Ukrainian singer and musician KEBU, who took over the boat’s hold for a poetic and psychedelic live performance, preceded by a roundtable on the role of artists in times of war.
Learn more about all the events and activities on the Easthub Resource Ukraine website.