Six months on, Ukraine remains in focus

Image: Discover Ukraine Bits Destroyed (Greenwich + Docklands International Festival)

As a milestone is reached in the Russian invasion, new exhibitions and efforts are made to celebrate Ukrainian art and culture.

This week marks six months since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, an attack which has continued to devastate the country, its museums and cultural sites among the collateral.

In the UK, the sector was quick to show its support. Among them the British Museum, which set up a temporary display celebrating Ukrainian culture through the ages.

The sector also had to adapt. The National Railway Museum was among the cultural institutions which made changes to its operations following the invasion, canceling its ‘Trans-Siberian: The World’s Longest Railway’ exhibition which was produced in partnership with JSC Russian Railways.

In March, Arts Council England (ACE) provided new guidance for museums planning to work with companies and artists from Russia and Belarus in response to the invasion.

Now in August, the pace of support through exhibitions shows no signs of slowing down.

A new exhibition by recognised Ukrainian artists which aims to reveal the “real beauty of Ukraine and its people” is being showcased in a public art display in north-west London.

‘Visions of Home’ at Wembley Park

From Wembley Park, ‘Visions of Home’ is a collection of photographs, installations and digital works by artists from the country. Wembley Park is partnering with the charity fund Tvoya Opora, which is currently fundraising to expand and improve the refugee shelter in Lviv, “Vse Bude Dobre” – “Everything Will Be Fine”, – the most populated refugee camp in the country at present.

The display includes a series of photographs capturing people living in the Ukrainian city of Odesa, where 21 people were killed in a Russian missile strike in July. The collection features a seven-storey high portrait of Anna Domashyna – a Ukrainian woman who stayed in the country to help people in need throughout the conflict – which has been installed on the side of a car park.

“In Ukraine: As My Heart Yearns” – an exhibition forming part of ‘Visions of Home’ – is a continuation of an international photography series started in March 2022, showcasing Ukraine’s past and present and includes pastoral archival imagery and recent refugee portraiture by Yana Kononova, Ira Lupu, Paraska Plytka-Horytsvit and Elena Subach & Helen Zhgir. It also features the work of documentary photographer Yelena Yemchuk with a seven storey-high captivating portrait – entitled Anna Domashyna.

Discover Ukraine Bits Destroyed (Greenwich + Docklands International Festival)

A new digital exhibition, part of the UK/Ukraine Season of Culture by the British Council and the Ukrainian Institute, will display Ukrainian mosaics, some of which have been destroyed by the war, onto the walls of the Old Royal Naval College at this year’s Greenwich+Docklands International Festival in London.

Running from 26 to 29 August 2022, the audio-visual installation Discover Ukraine: Bits Destroyed uses the motion-activated spectacle of 56 mosaics created by Ukrainian artists between the 1960s and the 1980s.

The exhibition is produced by the Ukrainian Institute and the creative team of Rock ‘n’ Light Studio, with music provided by Ukrainian multi-genre instrumental duo Ptakh Jung and images captured by Kyiv-based photographer Yevgen Nikiforov.

Brightly coloured, hyper-intricate digital projections of mosaics will mask an alarming message, that most of them have been destroyed by the ongoing war. The fleeting projections will be accompanied by striking sounds, which will draw attention to both Ukraine’s cultural legacy and losses.

The ceramic jug (image:

A ceramic jug gifted to outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Kyiv has gone on display to delegates at the Edinburgh International Culture Summit.

The cockerel-shaped jug, which has become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance, cites Ukrainian folklore, in which cockerels are believed to have powers of protection.

It is being displayed at the biennial event, which is hoped demonstrate the ongoing international solidarity with Ukraine.

IWM Conflict of Interest (IWM)

The IWM is to release a new, bonus episode of its Conflict of Interest podcast, about the history behind the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The podcast will explore how and why Russia’s policies towards its neighbours

It features Sophie Duker, alongside Ukrainian journalist Olga Tokariuk, Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore Samir Puri and IWM’s in-house expert Carl Warner,