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Ļ7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidanís three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countryís stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.

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Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard Ė and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.

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Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.

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Ukrainian Culture

Life in Plastic

Thereís something in the water in the southern city of Odesa, and itís multiplying. Dubbed the ďhuman BarbieĒ Valeriya Lukianov, who calls herself ďAmatueĒ, has become a viral Internet sensation due to doll-like proportions that make her resemble Mattelís most famous plaything. Not to be outdone, two more girls have stepped out of her shadow. Whatís behind the phenomenon? Whatís On goes to Anastasiya Shpagina and Olga Oleynik for some answers...or at least attempts to.

Nineteen-year old Anastasiya Shpaginaís look is inspired by the anime cartoons Japan is famed for, adopting the Japanese (almost) sounding name ďFukkacumiĒ for her alter-ego. Then thereís Olga Oleynik, 24, aka ďDominikaĒ, who, like her predecessor Valeriya, presents a Barbie-like face to the world. Both have been pilloried in the press and online, but claim they are simply misunderstood. Both deny major surgical intervention (although Olga admits her buxom bust is the result of a boob job) and claim cosmetic ďsleight-of-handĒ is behind their unique looks. They claim the attention is unwanted, yet harness the power of social media to market themselves like accomplished salespeople. Itís a perplexing mix. Here, in their own words, they describe what motivates their radical personas. Brace yourselves Ė it makes for bizarre reading.

Tell us a little about yourselves, your backgrounds and what prompted you to create these characters? 
Anastasiya: I finished school and went to a hairdressing course. After that I started working. Japanese anime cartoons are my inspiration; itís just how I want to look. Many people think I spend my parentsí money for makeup, but thatís not true. Because I work, I buy everything myself. I donít buy super expensive makeup either; I buy what I can afford. 
Olga: Iím definitely a creative personality. Iíve always adored drawing and have been drawing since the fifth grade, even going to art school. This, however, is my hobby, and my inspiration is never-ending. I have always felt ďdifferentĒ and I never wanted to be like anyone else, I remember going through many image incarnations. At school, I heard a lot about the way I looked, but I didnít really care what others thought of me, I just wanted to project my inner state to the outer world and thatís how I came up with my image. 

Describe your image Ė on what is it based?
Anastasiya: The image I have now was always in my head, and as I adore watching anime cartoons this became my inspiration and ideal of appearance. I like the big eyes and long hairÖ I liked the idea of making that image a reality. I wanted to live in a fairytale and at the same time bring that fairytale to the real world. 
Olga: I feel like an alien being, moreover I know that itís true. My spiritual motherland is the Pleiades constellation and I remember being there in previous lives. Itís all thanks to these memories, meditation, travels through the astral plain, and dreams of other worlds and dimensions. This is what inspires me and I project it all to my reality. Iím an aesthete and an idealist, I aspire towards perfection and that has always been a part of me. This is the basis for my image.

Clearly your appearances are achieved with cosmetics, but have you had any surgical assistance?
Anastasiya: I havenít had any plastic surgery, and I doubt that someone will agree to perform surgery on a 19-year-old, besides I donít have the money to pay for it. It is all just sleight-of-hand and secrets of makeup. I started playing with makeup when I was five, taking my mumís cosmetics. She wasnít that happy about it, so she bought me some to play with. I learned a lot myself Ė if I see an image in a magazine for example, I do a sketch right away and then try to create it on myself. 
Olga: My look is the result of all-round work on myself; my inner development as well as external expression. Itís the result of inner transformations, the expression of love and harmony as well as a healthy way of life. I donít drink alcohol, donít smoke, Iím vegetarian and have achieved a higher state of vegetarianism, by eating only raw food. I go to the gym to keep myself in good shape and project the way I see beauty with the help of art. I had just one surgery, on my breasts, to balance my hips, which I decided to do it for aesthetic reasons. 

How have your family, friends and the wider public reacted to your appearances? 
Anastasiya: My mother has always been supportive of me. I donít have friends. Society in general doesnít understand me. I hear criticism all the time from people who simply donít understand me Ė I scare them which provokes them to be aggressive.
Olga: My family is well used to me experimenting with how I look and it is something I have been doing since school. However, wider society reacts explosively, in ways both positive as well as negative, but Iíve never really cared as Iím focused on finding inner harmony. 
Of course, I also seek support from others. There are people who share my views, like my soulmate Amatue Ė Valeria Lukyanova, we are best friends and Iím thankful for our friendship. I love her! We hear a lot of criticism every day, mostly on the Internet, people have even created a couple of websites to discuss Amatue and I in negative terms. 
I also receive many negative comments and messages among the various social networks. But I donít really care. I think the reason for it is social programming Ė people donít understand anything that differs from the norm. I think people fear being judged and thatís why they are afraid to be different. I like the feeling of freedom; I reject confinements and restrictions. You could say Iím antisocial and that provokes mixed feelings. 

You both are attracting worldwide attention due to your looks; you crave this attention, donít you?
Anastasiya: It was never my goal to become popular; I have always just been makiing myself up because I like it. The fact that people know about me is pleasant, of course, and Iím happy that more and more people share my views. I want people to understand that they should always be themselves, and they shouldnít be afraid of what someone might think of them. You should live your life and be happy every day.
Olga: I can honestly say that I never wanted this attention or popularity. I was just doing what I like doing and sharing it on the Internet and this is what attracted people. 

OK, so wanted or not, a certain degree of fame has come your way, how do you plan to use it?
Anastasiya: Iím still in search of myself and want to try various professions including becoming a makeup artist, actress, florist, puppeteer and singer. I want to add a touch of magic to my life.
Olga: I plan to use my popularity to promote compassion, love, harmony and a healthy way of life such as vegetarianism Ė I think killing animals for food is violent and I see no sense in it. Ideally, I want to open my own shop and website selling clothes for what I call ďpeople of a new eraĒ, like-minded people who want to project their inner world and not just correspond to societyís expectations and ďfashionĒ.

Jared Morgan

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Read also:
  • When Walls Can Talk
  • Rights We Didnít Know We Had
  • The Path to Europe Begins Here...
  • Documenting Life
  • Head into 2014 Healthy

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnít Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Univer≠sal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they donít understand the meaning of these words.


    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street Ė the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades Ė childrenís favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whatís On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

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