Mystetskyi Arsenal will open the exhibition “Heart of Earth”About Us

Mystetskyi Arsenal will open the exhibition “Heart of Earth”

On Friday, November 25, 2022, Mystetskyi Arsenal will open the exhibition of comtemporary Ukrainian art “Heart of Earth”

The exhibition of comtemporary Ukrainian art “Heart of Earth” will present the artworks of 16 Ukrainian artists: Kateryna Aliinyk, Oleksandr Burlaka, Katya Buchatska, Bohdana Voitenko, Ksenia Hnylytska, Andrii Dostliev & Lia Dostlieva, Anna Zvyagintseva, Nikita Kadan, Zhanna Kadyrova, Alevtina Kakhidze, Kateryna Lysovenko, Daryna Mamaisur, Elias Parvulesco, Anton Saienko, Olena Turianska. Visitors will see the artworks created between 2014 and 2022, as well as those created specifically for the exhibition.

The notion of Ukrainian lands as the granary of entire continents seemed to be more of a myth than history, until the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022 highlighted its unexpected relevance as an element of world food security. It also turned out that food comes from the earth, just like gas and oil, and can also be used as a weapon.

Organized food shortages lead to political starvation, and are therefore a tool for controlling people. This is a story that is tragically known in Ukraine. The Holodomor was both an attempted extermination and a consequence of Stalin’s internal colonization that led to further practices of environmental violence. The Chornobyl disaster has become the culmination point. Based on colonial thinking, Soviet industrialization destroyed the ecosystem and increased the sense of threat, abandonment, and betrayal among the people who lived there.

While planning the exhibition “Heart of Earth”, we sought to keep in focus this historical memory and the triangle of relationships: the earth, the people who cherish it, and the food that is born from the interaction between them. Our earth — what kind of land is that and what is known about it from the point of view of food’s importance for the world? How do exploited territories, extremely influential but powerless and deprived of a voice of their own, acquire agency, that is, the ability to act on their own behalf and in their own interests?

Photo: Oleksandr Popenko © Public Enteptise “NACMC ‘Mystetskyi Arsenal’”

With the beginning of the full-scale war, these terrains, unknown to many, have acquired a detailed expression due to the resistance of their people. The names of local cities, towns, and villages are mentioned on the main world media sites, local correspondents are of great value, and millions of Ukrainians who were forced to flee their homes tell their stories to the world. Through resistance, the influence of mythologized lands and people began to converge with agency, with the ability to act. However, we are once again dealing with threats to the earth, lands, life, and the need to talk about food that may become scarce.

Blocked ports, burned grain, devastated and poisoned earth in Ukraine, like the flap of a butterfly’s wings, has consequences much farther in other places. They, too, were systematically oppressed and are now suffering from the consequences of industrialization, which was not chosen by the local people. The connection between everything became palpable: between very different lands, between people who knew little about each other, between plants and people, between earth and food, and the individual.

Raising our voices and telling our own stories, mourning our pain, and laughing at the thousand jokes that are born every moment are all ways to cope with violence. And another important way is the ability to care. For example, about mined fields that need careful demining, about the earth that is no longer poisoned either by bombs or unthinking production, about people, about everyone who needs food and who carries the memory of hunger in themselves. Care about us all.

Photo: Oleksandr Popenko © Public Enteptise “NACMC ‘Mystetskyi Arsenal’”

Curatorial group: Olga Zhuk, Olesia Ostrovska-Liuta, Anna Pohribna, Natasha Chychasova.

The exhibition will open its doors to visitors on Friday, November 25, 2022.

Working hours*:

Wednesday (11:00-15:00)
Thursday (13:00-18:00)
Friday (16:00-19:00)
Saturday (11:00-15:00)
Sunday (13:00-18:00)

*The exhibition “Heart of Earth” will be open from November 25 according to the schedule of power outages in Kyiv. In case of emergency power outages, we will additionally announce the work schedule on our social media.

**We care about everyone’s safety, so in case of an air raid alert, the exhibition will be closed. At this time, you can go to the nearest shelter. The exhibition will start working after the end of an air raid alert. If you do not have time to view the exhibition due to an air raid alert, your ticket will be valid on any other day of the exhibition.

Funded by the Stabilisation Fund for Culture and Education 2022 of the German Federal Foreign Office and the Goethe-Institut.