Kherson’s secret art society produces searing visions of life under Russian occupation | Ukraine

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Kherson’s secret art society produces searing visions of life under Russian occupation | Ukraine

Under the threat of constant pressure of imprisonment, interrogation and search by Russian soldiers, six artists met secretly in an underground studio in the occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson.

A few months after the house was occupied by Putin’s army, the artists formed a settlement, during which they produced dozens of works, including drawings, paintings, videos, photographs, diaries and theatrical performances.

The result they named Residence in Occupation provides disastrous insight into the horrors endured by millions of Ukrainians living under the Russian invasion.

The image shows an anguished hug at the station, a family evacuating to the basement-death approaching behind them-a house of fire and a dancing person, a human skeleton at their feet.

When it became too dangerous to meet in person, the artists continued to work individually. Since then, some have escaped the city and others have survived at risk.

The group wants to showcase their work, but not in Kherson, which has been occupied since February. Residency curator Julia Manoukian, who is currently in Odesa and has escaped from Kherson, said art could act as a powerful resistance.

Amputated hand holding the Russian flag. 19/06/2022, by Yulia Danylevska. Photo: Art Residency in Occupation

“You can see how our artists tell the world the truth about war through the words of art. Cultural resistance because the forefront of culture is a place where a free future is devised. Is as powerful as physical resistance, so it’s also important to convey how cultural resistance occurs, “she said.

“There is already much to be said about the need to articulate our independent voice in the field of international culture and art, which Russia has long dominated as a representative of Eastern European art practices. So it’s time to say this more than ever. “

Since 2002, Kherson has developed a unique art movement known as “car art,” embracing irony, irony, and boldness, and opposition to the mainstream.

During the first three weeks of the occupation, Manoukian said they were “shocked.” However, after encountering her first work in response to a war by artists other than Kherson, she began to see art as an integral part of “mental salvation,” and she brought together six local artists. I did.

ZHUK, a famous naive artist working under a pseudonym, has already started work Unnecessary guestA giant wasp painted in acrylic on an old tablecloth to represent the destroyer and the invaders. And within hours of the brutality of Bucha being revealed, he said, Putin’s Cock-a-doodle-doo..

An artist working under the name Marca Royal in an occupied village near Kherson said, ” Mrs. Soloduka’s Z Note.. “The war wiped out my life, but my little workshop beckoned me,” she writes. “But if you hear an explosion, how can you draw it? I wondered: who am I making fun of, and why? Pretending that the war is beyond somewhere You can’t. You have to record a series of experiences on paper. “

One of the portraits of Li Biretska, a woman and a girl living under occupation.
One of the portraits of Li Biretska, a woman and a girl living under occupation. Photo: Art Residency in Occupation

For her artistic documentation No stay / move out April 18, 2022 When 9 people in the basement April 15, 2022..

Julia Danilevska avoids portraying atrocities directly. Her work includes images of a fleeing Mariupol’s inhabitant collecting snow and melting in water, a Russian soldier’s hand removing gold earrings from a Ukrainian woman’s ear, and a severed hand holding a Russian flag. I have. Dancing on the bones Starting last month, she redrawn screenshots from David Lynch’s movie Mulholland Drive..

Li Biletka, a photographer currently in Kieu, is working on a documentary. Occupational women, And created a photo series Home Maria, Featuring portraits of women and girls living under occupation.

In her Facebook diary, she said: “Since yesterday, a veil of smoke has fallen on the Kherson, and it drags you down. But we hold. We try to live stubbornly. We still need to plant the forest. “

A young artist and children’s illustrator working under the name Mona, a series of paintings that reflect her inner self and ” … I want to scream..She has dedicated her work transition To a three-generation woman killed by a Russian missile in Odesa in April.

Playwright and film critic Arthur Smalokov created two plays. POW (Part 1) When POW (Part 2), 45 days after Russian occupation. “What does it feel like to be under occupation?” He wrote. “It’s about stopping fear of death. Sometimes I’m more honest about destroying you and your home to the ground than being taken hostage by a polite sadist. I had an insane idea, and I started writing the play in this depressed state, not because I wanted to, but only to save my heart from destruction. “

Putin behind the ZHUK painting bar
Putin’s graffiti doo by ZHUK. Photo: Art Residency in Occupation

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