How Ukraine’s artists are taking on Putin’s Russia

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How Ukraine’s artists are taking on Putin’s Russia

Nov 26 2022

In a piece in The Guardian, Charlotte Higgins interviews Ukrainian artists weaponizing their work to mount a powerful act of resistance:

...If art seemed a feeble and useless weapon in the first confused days of the invasion, for many I speak to in Ukraine, that sensation did not last long. If nothing else, the power of the written word as a tool of witnessing and testifying became very clear. Writers such as Mykhed began to keep detailed diaries. Artists, too: the painter and ceramicist who goes by the pseudonym Kinder Album began making daily drawings. “They were immediate and reactive,” she tells me. “I needed to put my emotions on paper, not even in the studio, but in my kitchen when I turned on the radio news.” Artist Andriy Rachinskiy, who’d been living in Kharkiv in the east on the outbreak of war, began documenting painted-out road signs, graffiti and billboards on Instagram.

Film-makers concentrated on documentary. “It’s really important to show that war isn’t things happening on the frontline, it isn’t politics; it’s things happening with ordinary people who are fighting for ordinary life,” says Ivan Sautkin, a member of Babylon‘13, a collective that formed during the Maidan Square protests almost a decade ago. He tells me about one of the characters in the film he’s currently shooting in northern Ukraine – “an 86-year-old lady from the Chernihiv area. During the occupation she was sitting by her window, knitting, as old ladies do – counting the Russian tanks, then sending the information to Ukrainian intelligence.” Novelist Victoria Amelina retrained as a collector of war crimes testimony – a single conversation with an elderly man in Balakliya, a recently liberated town near Izyum in the Kharkiv region, led to the discovery of three Russian torture chambers and more than 75 victims. For her, fiction will have to wait. “There are real people here and their stories have to be told,” she says...

Source: The Guardian

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