“Between Farewell and Return”: Mystetskyi Arsenal will present an exhibition of Ukrainian art about the loss of home and resistance against oblivionAbout Us

“Between Farewell and Return”: Mystetskyi Arsenal will present an exhibition of Ukrainian art about the loss of home and resistance against oblivion

On Thursday, May 30, Mystetskyi Arsenal will open an exhibition titled “Between Farewell and Return”. The exhibition will feature works by 17 Ukrainian artists: Kateryna Aliinyk, Piotr Armianovski, Hryhorii Bondarenko, Andrii Dostliev, Kateryna Yermolayeva, Alevtina Kakhidze, Olha Kuzyura, Vitalii Kulikov, Nina Laguta, Zoya Laktionova, Heorhii Mamardashvili, Eliza Mamardashvili, Daria Molokoiedova, Sevilâ Nariman-qızı, Viktoriia Rozentsveih, Yurii Solovii, and Dasha Chechushkova.

The exhibition “Between Farewell and Return” will open on the first day of the Book Arsenal and last for two months after the festival, until August 4. Visitors will be able to see artworks created between 2017 and 2024, as well as those specifically made for the Mystetskyi Arsenal exhibition.

The artists are drawing attention to people who experienced forced displacement through having to leave their homes due to occupations, wars, and environmental changes in our time and during the 20th century. The focus is directed not only on the catastrophe of the russian invasion of Ukraine. The exhibition tells the story of the repeated experiences of exile from one’s homeland over a century: from the history of Ukrainian DPs (displaced persons) during World War II and stories of those who had to leave native places due to flooding during the construction of the Kremenchuk HPP to the loss of their homes in the present-day Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

In addition to contemporary Ukrainian art, the exhibition “Between Farewell and Return” will feature archival materials from private collections, namely typed and handwritten, memoirs, letters and journals of DPs (displaced persons): former concentration camp inmates, forced labourers, refugees, and POWs (prisoners of war).

“Embodying imagination, the art allows us to re-imagine and animate lost connections and reinvent images and words where they seemed to be destroyed forever. The experience of the loss is what gave us a key to the messages left in displaced persons camps, during the Holocaust, in forced labour camps, in deportation, and also during the Russo-Ukrainian war in 2014 and 2022. Thus, the time between farewell and return becomes a moment of seeking for words, discovering forbidden and erased stories, and apprehending one’s place in each of them”, say Natasha Chychasova and Asia Tsisar in the curatorial text for the exhibition.

Through their artistic practices, artists come closer to familiar places that are impossible or life-threatening to return to. Artists reconstruct their family stories and childhood landscapes and contemplate upon intersections of cultures and resistance against oblivion. Films about the temporarily occupied Mariupol and Novotroitske, installations about one’s home in Donetsk and a Jewish family’s home in Lviv, landscapes of the Kherson region and the Ukrainian East, a dialogue with Crimean Tatar traditions and art — artists reflect on their personal traumatic experiences of resettlement and evacuation.

All these works are presented in the ‘Between Farewell and Return’ exhibition which does not have the traditional division into thematic blocks and sections. The curators abandoned it in order to comprehend the common pain and reminiscence for the home of several generations of people who found a home in Ukrainian lands due to various historical circumstances: Crimean Tatars, Cis-Azov Greeks, Jews, Georgians, Armenians, Poles, and Romanі and many others.


Curatorial group
Asia Tsisar
Natasha Chychasova

Junior curator
Anastasiia Garazd

Work schedule:

May 30 — 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m (entrance to the territory from 4.00 p.m.)
May 31 — 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m
June 1 — 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m
June 2 — 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m

June 5 – August 4 — 12:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m (except Mondays and Tuesdays).

The exhibition “Between Farewell and Return” is organized in cooperation with Art Arsenal Community NGO. The project is supported by Partnership Fund for a Resilient Ukraine (PFRU), funded by aid from the governments of Canada, Estonia, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.