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On Art and Resistance in Ukraine
Two-Fold Decolonial War in Ukraine: Images of Emancipation and Resistance & Ukraine’s New Art in a Time of War: Dismantling the Colonial Narrative

In order to counter and to question the increasing fatigue and apathy which can be observed in Germany and Western Europe concerning the topic of the Russian war in Ukraine we invited Ukrainian artists, curators, and art historians to share their knowledge and work. All in all, three events will center around topics such as the role of moving images in times of war, recent developments in Ukrainian contemporary art, and decolonial approaches to this field.

We hope to enable a dialog about these pressing topics at Universität Hamburg. Since epistemic violence is one of the mechanisms of imperialist and colonial power and warfare, true solidarity and resistance require attentive listening to the oppressed and continuous support in their attempts in regaining their own subjectivity.

Therefore, the events we have organised are an attempt in collective action to reflect on the blind spots and myths that can be found in Western contexts regarding contemporary Ukrainian art as well as art historiography – past and present – in the face of the Russian full-scale invasion.

Contact for Universität Hamburg: Petra Lange-Berndt, Department of History of Art, and Anja Tippner, Institute of Slavic Studies

Organisation: Natalya Stupka / Denis Uhreniuk (Hamburg / Lviv / Kyiv. Students of Kunstgeschichtliches Seminar, Universität Hamburg

Moderation: Mariia Vorotilina (Kampnagel Hamburg / Kyiv)


-Two lectures followed by discussion-

Two-Fold Decolonial War in Ukraine: Images of Emancipation and Resistance, Kateryna Botanova (Basel & Kyiv)

Through looking at the origins of the decolonial discourse and its use in South America and Africa, I want to argue its applicability to Ukrainian (and in a wider context, Eastern European) context. I suggest analysing the knowledge- and image-generating power relations between Ukraine and Russia, as well as Ukraine and ‚the Global West‘, in order to see Ukrainian resistance from 2014 on as an emancipatory struggle for owning one’s agency, voice, and identity. In the course of this lecture, I will trace the changes in artistic attitudes and approaches after Maidan and their role in the current stage of the war.

Ukraine’s New Art in a Time of War: Dismantling the Colonial Narrative, Svetlana Biedarieva (Mexico City & Kyiv)

The presentation focuses on how Ukrainian artists challenge and dismantle longstanding Russian colonial narratives in their art produced after the beginning of the full-scale invasion on 24 February 2022. It examines how artists work with contested historical memory, dispute Ukraine’s belonging to the post-Soviet space, and address the ongoing trauma through both decolonial perspective and anti-colonial resistance. The presentation also discusses the role of art activism and the place of politically and socially engaged practices in the particular decolonial turn that follows the outbreak of violence brought about by the full-scale invasion. It proposes a classification of colonial narratives in the particular case of Ukraine, in order to create a typology of methods and practices of resistance employed by the artists in their works.

Kateryna Botanova is a Basel-based cultural critic, curator, and writer from Kyiv, Ukraine. Her main focus is on culture as an agent of social change. Since 2015, Kateryna is a co-curator of the multidisciplinary cultural festival CULTURESCAPES (Basel, Switzerland) and an editor of festival anthologies. She was a director of the Center for Contemporary Art (SCM) in Kyiv and an editor-in-chief of a cultural online magazine KORYDOR. Since 2014, she writes and lectures extensively on decolonial and emancipatory discourse in the visual arts and cultural field in Ukraine.

Svitlana Biedarieva is an art historian, curator, and artist. Her current main research focus is contemporary Ukrainian art, decoloniality, and ongoing Russia’s war on Ukraine. She also works with selected topics of Eastern European and Latin American art. In 2019–2020, she curated the exhibition At the Front Line. Ukrainian Art, 2013–2019 in Mexico and Canada. She is the editor of Contemporary Ukrainian and Baltic Art: Political and Social Perspectives, 1991–2021 (Stuttgart: ibidem Press, 2021) and co-editor (with Hanna Deikun) of At the Front Line. Ukrainian Art, 2013–2019 (Mexico City: Editorial 17, 2020). She has published critical texts on Ukrainian art in such academic and media outlets as October, ArtMargins Online, post at MoMA, Revue Critique d’Art, Financial Times, Hyperallergic, and The Art Newspaper, among others. In 2022, she was selected as the CEC ArtsLink International Fellow (hosted by the University of Kansas) and the Visiting Fellow at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the George Washington University. She holds a PhD in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.

Moderated by Mariia Vorotilina, Kampnagel Hamburg

Zoom link: https://uni-hamburg.zoom.us/j/69309594599?pwd=QUhhWkpIZDBaeHB3VXp5Sm1HZjY5dz09

Weitere Informationen (externer Link)

Veranstaltungsprogramm (PDF, 2.175 kB)