DOWNEY – The Ukrainian Art Center, Inc. of Los Angeles debuted its 2015 year with an exhibition from Kyiv titled “Maidan, Ukraine: Road to Freedom,” at Stay Gallery. The exhibition opened Jan. 24 with a live panel discussion with artists from Kyiv participating via Skype, including Olexiy Sai, Maxim Dondyuk, Olexander Glyadyelov, Matviy Vaisberg and Igor Gaidai.
After a welcoming word by Daria Chaikovsky of the Ukrainian Art Center, a concert by Serhiy “FOMA” Fomenko (of the popular rock band Mandry) followed. FOMA travelled from Ukraine for this exhibit, after successful exhibits in London, Berlin and New York.
Yulia Marushevska, who produced the “I Am Ukrainian” film, joined the exhibit with a short statement. Over 120 guests attended the opening reception where food of the Maidan was served by Lyalya Lisowska.
Included in the program, and very well received, was the west coast premier of “Dancing Diplomats”, a movie documenting the joint project between Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and the Khirovohrad Philharmonic in 2012. The relevance was not missed by the audience, as it foreshadowed the brewing storm of events that would occur in Ukraine.
On the walls were displayed posters from Maidan, photos by several artists, and implements evidencing what Ukrainians used to fight tanks and bullets - barbed wire wrapped around a wooden stick, metal shields with signs of impact, a leather jacket half burned (status of the wearer unknown). In the center of the room were a collection of molotov cocktails and a gas mask. As viewers made their way around the gallery, they could hear the sounds of Maidan - explosions, guns being fired, people shouting.
Across the street, Lock & Key Social Drinkery was serving specially created “Molotov Cocktails” to exhibition guests. The exhibition closed on Jan. 28.
The Ukrainian Art Center is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote awareness of Ukrainian art. Several local high school students attended and were impressed enough to write about the exhibit, comparing this protest to others going on in the world.
Olenka Krupa Griffies is a Downey resident.
Published: Feb. 19, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 45