The war in Ukraine has already caused a disaster and a human catastrophe comparable to World War II, that continues to lead to death and suffering of hundreds and thousands of innocent people. Facing the legacy of cruelty and gruesomeness of Russian military forces towards civilians of the independent and sovereign Ukraine, throws us back to a state when it’s difficult to think about creation and the meaning of art and culture, and we as art workers ask ourselves whether and how it is possible to continue our work. Yet we believe that besides much-needed support, such as donations of money and goods for basic needs, and solidarity actions to help people who are forced to leave their homes, engagement and contributions can also come from artistic and cultural communities. Such support could be centering the narratives of art and culture from Ukraine, sharing information about it, as well as practical actions, like involving Ukrainian artists, curators and educators in collaborative projects. It can also entail gathering testimonies of war, asking difficult questions and discussing issues this war raises, like memory, cultural imperialism and decoloniality.
What are the smaller and bigger practical steps we can take to collaborate and engage with those people from the art world who are most affected by the war and its consequences? How can we engage them as partners whose expertise we value? What can that joint effort be and in which ways can we as art workers relate to this situation? How can the art world engage in dealing with the issues that have become pressing with the ongoing war yet apply to a broad region and even the whole world, like military conflicts, the information war, colonial violence and ecological catastrophe?
More information about the workshop is available here.
Lizaveta German, Maria Lanko, co-curators of the Ukrainian Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale
Lesia Khomenko, co-founder and member of Revolutionary Experimental Space Group and curatorial group Hudrada
Vasyl Cherepanyn, Visual Culture Research Center / Kyiv Biennial
Solvita Krese, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art
Anna Łazar, Muzeum Sztuki in Łodz
Nikolett Eross, OFF-Biennale, Rona Kopeczky, Easttopics, Budapest
Egle Nedzinskaite, National Gallery of Art in Vilnius
Moderator: Ieva Astahovska