|On the cover|
Tunnelling Towards Hope
|28 February - 6 March 2014|
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 EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s 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.
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.
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.
Sculpture Gives Yulia Nude Treatment
In a move that will appeal to many local male ex-pats,
for whom Ukraine’s prime minister is somewhat of a fantasy object, or maybe to
the boys up in the Kremlin (who you just know are tortured by sweaty dreams
about Yulia), a Luhansk sculptor is putting the finishing touches on a nude
sculpture of Prime Minister Tymoshenko. As far as we can tell Yulia didn’t
personally pose for the sculptor, Mykola Smatko, who’s calling the sculpture
‘The Ukrainian Aurora’. He says it ‘combines a fighting spirit, strength, and
beauty.” The life-sized, classical-style white marble
sculpture, which has the naked prime minister in a sort of contraposto postion,
much like one of Michelangelo’s nudes, doesn’t look completely like the
illustrious politician, in our opinion. (We have in mind the face – the rest we
can’t vouch for.)
Smatko’s Yulia is chunky-faced and cheerful-looking – more
like a friendly librarian in provincial England, perhaps, than dark-eyed, part-Armenian
Tymoshenko, who’s arguably the least likely woman to smile benignly from behind
a library counter in the world. Yet the trademark peasant braids are there atop
the sculpture’s head. She also wears a thick string of pearls around her neck,
the clasp of which is emblazoned with Tymoshenko’s Cyrillic initials.
“It seems to me that every artist – a poet, a
sculptor, a writer – endeavors to reflect his times and the heroes who
incarnate his intentions in life,” said Smatko. “I decided to work in two
directions and say that Yulia Tymoshenko is a special person, she embodies the
fighting spirit, and at the same time I’d underscore that she is Ukraine,
the true Ukrainian woman.” He estimates that the piece will sell for half a
million dollars, and wants someone to buy it and exhibit it in one of Ukraine’s best
This is not the first time that Tymoshenko - whose looks combine with
her ambition, power, and ability to destroy her (mostly male) political
opponents with sneering invective make her irresistible to men who like that
sort of thing - has been cast as a sex symbol. Those into Slavic smut will
remember that ‘Yulia’ featured in a series of Russian-made porn movies in
aftermath of the Orange Revolution. The porn version of Yulia, wearing the
famous braids, did X-rated things with an actor who looked somewhat like
Georgian President Mikhail Sakaashvili, in a film that combined hatred with
prurient fascination to an extent that even Freud would have found shocking.
Anyway, we suspect Tymoshenko’s ego will be gratified by Smatko’s gesture and
we hope that he’ll go on to create a grotesque series of other nude Ukrainian
politicians, starting with Nestor Shufrych, Natalia Vitrenko, and Arseniy
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50 Charged, More to Come
Hard at Work in Parliament
Elections and Ship Jumpers
Attention Turns to Crimea
Honouring the Dead
|Rights We Didn’t 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 don’t understand the meaning of these words.
| Kyiv Culture|
Located on Hrushevskoho Street – the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades – children’s 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. What’s On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.