Sep/Oct 2018 Current Moscow Time: 10:12:21
26 September 2018

  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Author: Victoria Juharyan

Jan/Feb 2018
Page 51   ( 2 pages)

Summary: Next, we go to Kiev, to visit a museum that seeks to preserve the memory of Ukrainians who stood up against the monolithic Soviet state.


In 1964, Kyiv (Kiev) National University commissioned artwork to commemorate the 150th anniversary of birth of writer and artist Taras Shevchenko. The display was intended to decorate a hallway at the University. The Artists’ Union selected Ukrainian artists Alla Gorska and Liudmila Semikina for the task; they collaborated with Galina Sevruk on a stained-glass panel designed by the painter Opanas Zalivakha.

The group produced a sketch for the artwork, titled “Shevchenko. Mother,” and the design was immediately approved. But later, when the finished work of stained glass was installed at the University, it was immediately deemed inappropriate and removed: the dean himself destroyed it with a hammer.

What was the problem? First, it looked like Shevchenko and Ukraine were behind bars. What’s more, from certain angles, the book that Shevchenko was holding looked like a knife! Neither of these problems were evident in the sketch. The panel was deemed “ideologically hostile” and Gorska was evicted from the Artists’ Union.

Today, over half a century later, a recreation of the Gorska-Semikina glass installation is the first exhibition piece at the Ukrainian Museum of the Shestidesyatniki.

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