Berlin – Lviv – Kiev. A journey report in pictures.
Sunday, May 24, 2015. Late in the evening, we arrive at Lviv and enjoy our first dinner together.
Monday, May 25, 2015. We gather with the Ukrainian students in the University Library. For four hours we are presenting our projects and experience lively discussions. The Ukrainians appreciate our “alternative point of view” while we are profoundly interested in their personal experiences during the time of revolution.
In the afternoon, Khrystyna Nazarkevych takes us on a city tour. But not on the usual tourist walk.
We are following the route of the student protest march in winter 2013/14 and discover street art that we had already been discussing during our seminar in Berlin.
“Literature in/of War” is the title of a poetry reading on Monday evening in the Library on Muliarska Street. The Ukrainian students stress the importance of individual experiences in the current political crisis and explain how language and literature changed during war time. Finally, Kai-Oliver Gutacker presents his translation of a poem by Olena Herasymjuk.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015. The Center for Urban History of Eastern and Central Europe presents its work to us. Here, historians, sociologists, art historians, IT-specialists and architects organize research projects, seminars, conferences or exhibitions in order to encourage research into urban history and reach out to Lvivian citizens. Afterwards, we get the possibility to walk through the center’s interesting exhibition on World War One.
With Kvass and good food, we have a cosy lunch and a fascinating meeting with two artists, Natalia Kosmolynska and Vlodko Kaufmann (Links?), in the art gallery Dzyga. Natalia Kosmolynska explains how the political conflict has already been sensible in Ukrainian art for the last few years. She also provides us with a structured overview on Maidan art. Vlodko Kaufmann is one of the curators of the project Maidan Museum that collected items from the fight on Maidan and rearranged them impressively in a lively exhibition in the Ivan Honchar Museum in Kiev.
The evening is reserved for another poetry reading and discussion under the motto Mined Words in the YE Bookstore on Svobody Avenue. Ukraine’s famous poets Halyna Kruk, Iryna Sarovyt, Marianna Kijanovska, Kateryna Mikhalitsyna, Marjana Savka and Ostap Slyvynsky as well as the bookstore employee Anastasia Levkova discuss changes in Ukrainian literature in the context of revolution.
Halyna Kruk explains: “We, currently, experience a giant boost in literature. New names came into focus, their works sound different. We are also looking at the problem of functionality of literature from a new perspective. Literature nowadays performs diverse functions, especially a healing and therapeutical one. Literature allows us to stay humane while all those inhumane events take place. There are also new topics that we have to deal with. Many things have changed, which is logical, since we have changed.”
The whole day Khrystyna Nazarkevych did a wonderful job in translating everything into German for us.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015. After another presentation and discussion round with the Ukrainian students and some free time in Lviv, we take the train to Kiev. We enjoy a five hours ride through Ukraine’s beautiful landscape in a brand-new, comfortable carriage.
Thursday, May 28, 2015. During our city tour in Kiev, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the center of the protests, is the most impressive stop. Posters and symbols, for example a few hundred memorial candles, remind visitors of what has happened here. Maria Ivanytska shows us around, talks about the chronology of events and her personal experiences. Her husband and son also participated in the protests.
In every street in the center of Kiev, there are photos to remember the victims of Euromaidan, the so called Heavenly Hundred Heroes. An important person is one of the first victims: Serhiy Nigoyan, a young Ukrainian with Armenian background.
Taras Shevtshneko, the Ukrainian national poet, is a significant symbol in Kiev’s street art.
In the afternoon, Natalia Moussienko gives us a lecture on „Art of Maidan – looking to the future“. She presents her personal collection of photos from Maidan to us and, thus, provides us with yet another perspective on the events.
Friday, May 29, 2015. Is this an object of war or is it art? For project curator Ihor Poshyvailo, there is no difference in that. He presents the concept of the exhibition „The Creativity of Freedom: (R)Evolutionary Culture of Maidan“ which took place in the Ivan Honchar Museum from November 2014 to January 2015. The touching interactive exhibition showed the protests on Maidan as a form of artistic expression: painted helmets, shields and a collection of Molotov cocktails.
In the evening, a couple of stairs take us into the cellar that houses the cosy, crowded and utterly charming café “Kupidon”. This is the stage for our meeting with Alexander Kabanov, (Link?) a Russian poet residing in Kiev. He is also editor of a journal that is concerned with issues such as the language debate in Ukraine, politics and the educational system. According to him this series allows him and his colleagues to creatively, and not seldom ironically, approach the future. Kabanov answers the question of what poetry is able to do in these times of political and social unrest with a dismissive gesture, “nothing, only private pleasure and superficial satisfaction!”
Saturday, May 30, 2015. Early in the morning, we have to catch our flight back home. Each of us leaves with precious new impressions but also very tired from a week of colourful program.