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7 (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 EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys 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 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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Kyiv Culture

Dolls Demonstrate Costume Culture

Every Ukrainian region has its own toy-making traditions which are considered an important element of the many unique cultures that make up the Ukrainian nation. Historically they played an important part in the life of the regions children and often had spititual qualities attributed to them. Some toys were endowed with a mystical idea. Unwell babies could be cured by transferring their ailemnts onto rag-doll which were usually burned afterwards, explains the co-curator of the doll exhibition currently running at Kyivs Shevchenko Museum Ludmila Davydova. Sometimes when a child died in infancy parents would even place a toy in the coffin as such folk dolls were often seen as part of the childs identity.

 Ukrainian dolls were traditionally dressed in the folk costumes of the region, beit casual everyday outfits or festive attire. The most interesting thing about many of these dolls is that they are faceless. The idea was for children to develop their creative skills by imagining the mood and character of the dolls for themselves. By leaving the face blank children were given the opportunity to think for themselves and create their own fantasies, Ludmila adds.

 This exhibition has been organized jointly by Kyivs Pirogovo Open Air Museum and the Taras Shevchenko Museum and is being held for the fifth time. The exhibits represent traditional handicraft works by masters from different regions across Ukraine. Each visitor to the exhibition can witness the unique skills which are handed down from one generation to the next and are considered to be at the very core of Ukrainian folk culture. The scariest thing about this tradition is that if we dont support it there is a very real danger that it could disappear altogether as there are currently no schools or workshops teaching these ancient folk arts! the exhibition co-curator explains. That is why the exhibition also features master classes held in the foyer of the museum by Kyiv master babushka Varvara Matsella so that each visitor can study this ancient art of doll making and even buy some examples.

 Anastasiya Skorina


 
 

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Read also:
  • Pulling Strings
  • Kyivs New Normal
  • For Richer or Poorer The Struggle of Ukraines Young Couples
  • Me and My Shadow
  • Start Me Up

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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt 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 Universal 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 dont understand the meaning of these words.


    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens 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. Whats 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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