Visits to Ukraine for international artists and cultural workers

Visits to Ukraine for international artists and cultural workers

Funding: Prague Civil Society Centre
Partners: Asortymentna kimnata, post impreza, Prague Civil Society Centre and proto produkciia
Duration: September 2023 – January 2024
Budget: 2 537 342,30 UAH
Coordinators: Olga Diatel, Alona Karavai, Yuliia Alenina, Alona Odarenko

The Russian full-scale war against Ukraine has had a critical impact on the humanitarian, social, cultural, artistic, environmental and other sectors. Moreover, the further it goes, the more profound and irreversible this impact is. Even after the victory, Ukraine will be recovering and rebuilding for a long time. 

We understand that foreign news about events in Ukraine from a distance often sound unclear and unbelievable. We also fully understand that there is no fully safe space in current conditions in the country. But we see it important to create possibilities for international artistic exchange and two-sided circulation of ideas and experiences even in such difficult conditions. This project is an intention to see and try to understand how war affects a modern person, an artist and an art institution in particular, how it changes society, priorities, and roles. 

We invited performing artists, visual artists, independent media journalists, critics, and curators of contemporary art in Europe, cultural managers and art producers from Germany, Austria, France, Italy, and Spain. Each of 5 visits will be tailor-made by a group of 6 professionals from the field.

Groups of up to 7 people were invited for visits, considering the following focal themes:

  • In September (18-24), a group of performers was hosted. During networking, they interacted with European colleagues. Three workshops were also conducted: “Mask as Material — Material as Mask” by Alexej Vancl, “Digital tools for creators: the SNEO experience” by Mayda Á. Islas, and “PAINTJOCKEY” by Eva Evitzkaya.
  • From October 9 to 15, a group of European visual artists were welcomed. Besides networking, they watched the film “Irpin. Chronicles of Revival” by the ArtPole artistic initiative. They also managed to visit the city, follow the paths from the film, and meet some people from the neighboring community. Discussions were held with people who experienced the occupation and heard their stories of recovery. Artist talks were conducted by Seila Fernández Arconada, Clara Tischler, and Riiko Sakkinen, discussing contemporary interactions between nature and humans, migration, loss of people and home, and the role and responsibility of artists in society.
  • From October 16 to 22, a group of foreign cultural journalists visited Ukraine. They acquainted themselves, planned cooperation, and held a discussion about Ukrainian culture and art in the Western European media together with Daria Badyor, a Ukrainian cultural journalist and film critic, and a German journalist, reporter, and art historian Christine Hamel.
  • In November (6-12), a group of critics and curators was introduced to the local context. They visited local artists in Bucha, Irpin, and Motyzhyn. The guests also presented their projects. Benjamin Gruner, Jeannette Brabenetz, and Zofia Nierodzinska discussed preparations for the Pochen Biennale 2024, research on the theme of fragility in the world, strategies of resilience in Central and Eastern Europe, and the feeling of life in (in)security.
  • From November 13 to 19, a group of cultural managers and producers was hosted. They established connections, exchanged experiences, and discussed the specifics of working in Europe with colleagues from Germany, France, Spain, and Italy.
  • In January 2024, foreign curators, anthropologists, and writers were welcomed in Kyiv. Along with Olexander Kurmaz, they were introduced to the city, visited the workshops of the Institute of Automation, spent a lot of time in Nikita Kadan and Anton Saienko studios, and interacted with Ukrainian cultural figures: the founder of the Past / Future / Art platform Kateryna Semenyuk, the co-founders of the NGO Museum of Contemporary Art Olha Balashova and Yulia Hnat, and the curator Natasha Chichasova.

Also, within the project, our partners from ProEnglish Theatre invited French performers Madeleine Bongard and Julie Zeno to collaborate on joint projects.

  • The work in progress performance “Forget-me-not” with Julie Zeno, directed by Alex Borovensky, tells the story of a Ukrainian woman who was forced to leave her home and move to France due to war. The performance was presented on December 16 at ProEnglish Theatre, and Julie also plans to present the performance in France this winter.
  • Madeleine Bongard, along with performer and director Anabell Sotelo Ramirez, worked on the performance “Black Hole — Sur la ligne de Front”. The performance was presented on December 21 at the Dovzhenko Centre.

The project is implemented by Insha Osvita for financial support of the Prague Civil Society Centre as well as with Asortymentna kimnata, post impreza and proto produkciia.