Exhibit of Ukrainian revolution comes to Downey

DOWNEY – “Road to Freedom,” an exhibit of revolutionary art inspired by recent headlines in the Ukraine, opens this Saturday afternoon at Stay Gallery. The exhibit will be open from 1-7 p.m. and will include a panel discussion -- via Skype -- with participiants of the Ukrainian revolution.

On Sunday, the exhibit reopens at 2 p.m. with a lecture and panel discussion. At 5 p.m. there will be a screening of the documentary “Dancing Diplomats,” followed by original music performed by Ukraine musician Foma.

“Road to Freedom” includes original paintings, posters, photographs, film and music by participants in the months-long uprising in Eastern Europe that ousted a corrupt president and his regime.

Audio recordings and genuine artificats such as gas masks, helmets and homemade shields “give...visitors the sounds and feel of this modern revolution,” organizers said.

In late 2013, a scattering of student gatherings in central Kyiv’s Maidan square exploded into a large but peaceful daily public protest after President Viktor Yanukovych reneged on his promise to sign a European trade agreement.

The government reacted with violence, protestors were killed and the resulting public outrage forced Yanukovych to flee the country.

Artists were active in the movement from the start. Now a traveling exhibit of their work comes to Downey after successful runs in Berlin, London and New York.

Participating artists include painter Matviy Vaisberg, photographers Igor Gaidai, Maxim Dondyuk, Olexander Glyadeylov, and Anton Trofymov, the Strike-Plakat poster group and others. Documentary films will be screened.

The exhibit is curated by Serhiy “Foma” Fomenko, who compiled the soundtrack for the exhibit. He will be at the show opening reception and throughout the showing.

The exhibit is sponsored by DAR, Meest, Stay Gallery and the Ukrainian Art Center, Inc. (UAC). It is facilitated by Artfira Gallery and hosted in Southern California by the Ukrainian Art Center.

For more information, go to stay-gallery.com.

About the artists

Matviy Vaisberg (also Matvey Vaisberg) was born in Kyiv in 1958. He graduated from Taras Shevchenko Republican Art School and the Ukrainian Polygraphic Institute specializing in book design.

Vaisberg is a founder of the “Ariergard” movement that developed its intellectual-aesthetics in the 1980s within the late-Soviet and early post-Soviet time. His works are part of the following permanent collections: Museum of Russian Art in Kyiv, Vilno Gaon Jewish Mu-seum, Vilnius, Lithuania, K. Weidlich and Eberkhardt Collection, Munich-Leipzig, Germany.

The artist lives and works in Kyiv. His paintings displayed in the exhibit are from his “The Wall” series, depicting the most dramatic days of the Maidan hostilities, which the artist witnessed in person. He spent almost every day and every night on the Maidan square for more than two months during the height of the protests.

Maxim Dondyuk, born in Ukraine in 1983, is a documentary photographer who began his work as a photojournalist in the Ukrainian news media. He’s been a freelancer since 2010, creating and promoting his own documentary projects.

The exhibit features his original color photographs of the Maidan, which he documented from December 2013 onwards. His Maidan photos ap-peared in TIME, Der Spiegel, Paris Match, Rolling Stone, PDN, Bloomberg Businessweek, Esquire and others.

Among his honors: Grand Prix of the Ville de Perpignan Rémi Ochlik Award, Visa pour l’Image, Perpignan, Magnum Photos competition “30 under 30” for emerging docu-mentary photographers, Finalist of the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, Fi-nalist for the FotoEvidence Book Award, Grand Prix “Best Global Health Story” of the BD’s Hope for a Healthy World Photo Competition, Grand Prix of the “Best Photo of the Year” in the ‘Photographer of the Year’, and making the shortlist in the portraiture category of the Sony World Photography Awards.

Dondyuk’s three major documentary projects have been “Uman, Rosh Hashana” (2008-2012), “The Сrimea Sich” (2010-2013), and “TB epidemic in Ukraine” (2010-2012). Today, he continues photographing events of the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Olexander Glyadyelov, born in Poland in 1956, graduated from the Kyiv Polytechnical Institute. He studied photography independently through the mid 80’s, and began working as a professional freelance photojournalist in 1989.

The black-and-white photographs shown at the exhibit were taken by Glyadyelov while he covered the Maidan from, as he said, “…the very beginning, from the first night.”

Glyadyelov has traveled extensively throughout the former Soviet Union, taking photographs in Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Kyrgyztan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Lithuania. He has also photographed in Poland, the Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, United States, Somalia, South Sudan and Kenya.

Glyadyelov covered the armed conflict in Moldova (where he was wounded), Nagornij Karabakh, and Chechnya. Since 1996, he has concentrated on long-term photographic documentary projects such as child abuse, the HIV/AIDS epidemic among intravenous drug users and post-Soviet prisons.

His photography has been utilized by international organizations including MSF, WHO, UNAIDS, and UNICEF. He has held 30 personal photo exhibitions, and his awards include Grand-Prix of Ukrpressphoto-97, Hasselblad Prize at the European Photography competition in Vevey (Switzerland) in 1998, and the Mother-Jones 2001 Medal of Excellence, “Moving Walls 2002” OSI, in New York.

He has published the books “Неre and Now”, Blank-Press edition, Kyiv, 2001; “Pandemic: Facing AIDS”, Umbrage Editions, New York, 2003 (group project); and “Interview With а Hope”, Blank-Press edition, Kyiv, 2006.

Igor Gaidai was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in 1961. He is a photographer, owner of a photo gallery, and author of three photo books – “The Ukrainians. Beginning of the Third Millenium” (1996-2003), “9 months + 3 days’” (2006-2008), “Razom UA” (2004-2011).

Gaidai graduated as a cameraman from The Karpenko-Kary National University of Theatre, Cinema and Television in Kyiv in 1985, and later taught photography lighting and composition there. He is a founding member of the Union of Photo Artists of Ukraine.

He had worked as a photographer for the Dovzhenko National Film Studio in Kyiv, and as a freelance photographer with leading advertising agencies for more than 15 years. In 1991, Gaidai founded his own private photo studio, the first in Ukraine. Since 1995 he has been the art director and co-owner of “Gaidai Studio.” He focuses on creating and producing social-oriented photo-objects as well as promoting world photography in Ukraine, and Ukrainian photography in the West.

The exhibit will feature Gaidai’s color photographs of individuals with various backgrounds, ages and roles in the Maidan protests.

Anton Trofymov was born in Kyiv in 1967, and now lives and works in New York. He studied at the Kyiv National University of Theatre, Film and Television, and worked as a music video director and assistant director at The National Cinematheque of Ukraine.

In 1999, Trofymov came to the United States and his creative interests shifted toward photography.

In the exhibit, Trofymov shows his original black-and-white images of the beginning of the Maidan movement in late 2013, each juxtaposed with with film stills dating back to the 1920s, gleaned from various documentaries of the Central State Film, Photo and Sound archive in Kyiv. Through his photographs, Trofymov exposes a strong connection between what happened recently in Ukraine with had been taking place in revolutionary days three generations earlier.

Oleh Denysenko’s displayed work is a nickel-silver commemorative coin, in commemoration of the “Heavenly Hundred.”

The coin, included in the exhibit’s catalog, was struck in a limited edition of 250 in the Lviv Mint in Ukraine, and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.



Published: Jan. 22, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 41