Ukrainian art gallery owners can’t go home to Kyiv because of the war : NPR

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The owners of the Kyiv gallery, Julia and Max Vorosin, were in Miami to showcase Ukrainian art when the first COVID and subsequent Russian invasion prevented them from returning home.

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The owners of the Kyiv gallery, Julia and Max Vorosin, were in Miami to showcase Ukrainian art when the first COVID and subsequent Russian invasion prevented them from returning home.

Greg Allen / NPR

In Miami, the exhibition of works by Ukrainian artists has gained new importance due to the Russian invasion. A show mounted by the Kyiv-based Voloshyn Gallery. Due to the war, Ukrainian gallery owners Max and Julia Volosin were stranded in the United States and did not know when they could return.

They are a young couple and have a baby. They came to Miami from Kyiv five months ago and presented their work during Miami’s International Art Basel Week. After that, they held a pop-up show in Miami’s warehouse district.

It is far from the gallery owned by Voloshyns in Kyiv. According to Julia Voloshyna, the gallery is located in the basement of a historic building near the city centre. They opened it in 2016. In the war, she says, “We can no longer run, and our gallery is now a bunker.”

The gallery staff and some of Voloshyn’s artist friends are staying there at night, using it as a shelter for bombs. A few days ago she said she had told her that bombs and missile attacks had not yet targeted the area. “The city center is quiet,” she says. “But they are scary too.”

In Kyiv, the Voloshyn Gallery is now a shelter for bombs and shelters for artists and gallery staff.

Voloshyn gallery


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Voloshyn gallery

Watching the news from home, Julia and Max showcase the work of five Ukrainian artists featuring paintings, sculptures and multimedia works. Some of them seem to be eerily related to news combat and missile strikes. Nikita Kadan’s work depicts the wreckage of a crumbling skyscraper. “It was destroyed by artillery in 2015 in the Donbus region of Ukraine,” said Max Voloshyn.

A photo printed on silk, hung on a black metal and resin frame. Voloshyn says Kadan is one of the people currently staying at the Kyiv gallery.

Nikita Kadan printed a picture of the bomb’s damage on silk, not because of the current war, but because of the fight in the Donbus region of Ukraine in 2015.

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For Voloshyns, it’s naturally stressful now. After Art Basel, both Max and Julia were infected with COVID. They decided to stay in Miami a little longer. Then an aggression broke out and I didn’t know when it was safe or practical to go home. Max says he is worried about his family and friends. “My friend Igor was at the opening of this show in Miami three weeks ago.” Max took out his cell phone, smiled, wore a flake vest, and had a Kalashnikov-style rifle. I showed you a photo. “It’s crazy,” he says. “Just three weeks ago he was in Miami.”

Julia and Max Voloshyn opened their first gallery 15 years ago when both were students. For this show and other shows, we’ve worked with Miami-based curator Omar Lopez-Chahoud. Lopez-Chahoud says plans for another show are underway in Kyiv later this year. It seems impossible anymore. “At least we were able to introduce these artists, and their work is very relevant to the current situation,” he says.

At the exhibition, works by Resia Komenko are on display.

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Another piece of the show, by artist Oleksiy Sai, now has a special resonance. He used Excel software to create a satellite map of the embarrassed Donbus region in eastern Ukraine and printed it on aluminum. After that, much of the map was hidden by hundreds of craters that rhinos shattered into aluminum.

Julia Volosina said, “He was looking at the Donbus area when there was a conflict that was previously a war with Russia. [He] I tried to portray what it was like, the landscape [destroyed] By the bomb. It’s a beautiful work, but at the same time it’s beautiful and scary. “

Artist Oleksiy Sai created an image of the Donbas region of Ukraine and shattered the “explosion crater” on the surface.

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With a few other options, Voloshyns has extended its exhibition in Miami. Even before the aggression headlines their country, they say there is growing interest in Ukrainian artists. They hope that their interest in Ukraine and their international support will help them find fellowships and other opportunities that will allow artists to continue to produce art in the midst of conflict.

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