ЦІЛІСНІСТЬ / INTEGRITY
Алегорія понівечиної країни / Allegory of a mutilated country
Рани на тілі України - це рани кожного з нас
The 11th commandment says “Do not be indifferent" - it was suggested by the Auschwitz survivor Marian Turski, referring to the words of another survivor, the Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”
Two years ago I started my project "Integrity", depicting warzone wounds as an allegory of the country, which lost tens of thousands of human lives, control over territories and is striving to restore its integrity. But this is a story of not only one country. Since the beginning of mankind wars have always affected our lives. Scars of war are the scars on all humanity and depict the absence of our integrity as humankind. Throughout history people became victims of divisions and manipulations by large political powers leading to deadly wars for the sake of geopolitical interests, ideology or material values. We forget that the biggest value is life.
My photographs can be seen as a collective portrait of the world, in which there is so little love and so many ways to cause pain. People in pain hurt other people, which leads to the endless circle of violence, pain, hate and suffering. The wounds of war are so deep and difficult to be healed. Scars of war remain for generations. How can this damage be repaired?
My country is being crucified now, and horrible wounds are being inflicted, both visible and invisible. War brings losses on many levels. Loss of a relative, loss of part of a body, part of the soul. Loss of home. My mother had to run away from her home after two weeks of shelling from all kinds of weapons. After she managed to escape, a shell fell into the window of a room where she stayed. I never prayed so much in my life, as when she was there.
I feel the pain thinking about people, whose loved ones did not survive, went missing or stay in captivity. It hurts me deeply when I think about our prisoners of war, the martyrs who are now carrying the cross of defending the freedom of Europe.
One of them is a daughter of our family friend, she served in Mariupol and got locked up in Olenivka prison. After the brutal massacre which killed 50 prisoners of war there it is unknown if she is alive. Humanitarian organizations do not get any access to our prisoners of war. The son of another friend, a civilian, was killed in front of his father by explosive bullets. Who has the right to invade anyone's world and destroy it?
I have been working on my project about the aftermath of war for three years, telling about the damage humans inflict, trying to raise awareness, naively saying that I want to prevent a catastrophe. The catastrophe has happened, but it may become even bigger. We need to stop it, we need to prevent something even worse.
Even when the war was going on in our country before the large-scale invasion many people did not want to acknowledge it and had the luxury to ignore it. But the war is always closer than it seems. Stability is an illusion and peace is fragile. Nothing is under control, anything can happen at any moment.
It is important to be aware of it.
I want to thank the people of Europe for not being indifferent. For your care, for your kindness. For your generous hearts. You give us a home, you cure our wounded. You give us the love and support that help us heal our bodies and souls. With your kind hospitality you protect our lives. We do not speak the same language, but we all laugh and cry the same way.
We are all humans. We are one.
Mariupol (in Vezha and DK Livoberezhny)
Kramatorsk (Museum of Regional history)
Kyiv (Arsenal, group exhibition)
Kyiv (Ukrainski Dim, group exhibition)
Pokrovsk (Historic Museum)
Radio interview Проект "Цілісність" by Радіо Голос Донбасу | Mixcloud
TV, exhibition in Mariupol "Цілісність" у Маріуполі! - YouTube
TV, exhibition in Kramatorsk
Interview in English about the other part of the project, about prisoners of war 'Unthinkable Things': Documenting The Scars Of Ukraine's Prisoners Of War (rferl.org),
The first exhibition took place in Mariupol. The images were printed and exhibited in two locations in Mariupol in October 2021. The studio where they were printed looks like this now. The fate of the studio owner is not known.