Between Farewell and ReturnExhibitions

Between Farewell and Return

Between Farewell and Return
Мистецький Арсенал
вул. Лаврська, 10-12
Київ, Київська область 01010

One does not choose a place to be born and grow up. Maybe, that is why it sometimes seems only a backdrop of one’s life, so tangible and ordinary. Feelings it evokes may vary, too: from tenderness to wishing to escape. But, however different one’s relationship with that place may be, one reserves the possibility to return to that significant place to witness them in person.

But war crumbles familiar worlds, destroying connections between places and people. It takes away the past and future together with the ability to choose. To leave, to run, to flee — this state doesn’t allow for feelings and apprehension, there is only a choke of ‘now’ and the morbid uncertainty of what comes next. When silence settles after the wreck, and life returns to its familiar patterns, there comes a feeling of splittedness, of dissociation with the past — with the place that once used to embody the childhood memories, the place where one’s part still lives. From that moment on, an answer to an ordinary question of ‘Where are you from?’ is no longer automatic. It engenders multiple fears that Ukrainian émigré activist and linguist George Y. Shevelov has brilliantly summarized into a term of soillessness: a fear to start over and over, to have no place in the world, to lose not only what is material and acquired, but even oneself, one’s language and environment.

Multiple generations of Ukrainians faced soillessness as the result of systematic elimination, repressions, wars, and occupations. We had to rediscover our identity over and over, to preserve its meagre scraps, to rebuild homes in stranger places and continents. Constant loss is akin to eternal return, where everything familiar and dear is erased and turned into phantom pain in one’s body. Such an eternal return lacks ethnicity. It unites everyone who found a home in Ukrainian lands due to various historical circumstances: Crimean Tatars, Cis-Azov Greeks, Jews, Georgians, Armenians, Poles, and Romani, along with many others. Memories become the sole way to reach their homes to those who have lost them. In the lofty pavilions of memory, it is possible to imagine oneself among familiar objects, to travel from a street to a street, to animate feelings forgotten and to sprout new life upon what has been broken. These journeys are not mere mnemonic exercises, but acts of resistance against changes that inevitably happen in our absence.

Between Farewell and Return is an exhibition about real and familiar places that are impossible to return to. Thus, they transform into ephemeral and fleeting places of memories. Artists step closer to them via artistic practices, reconstruct family stories and childhood landscapes, and contemplate upon intersections of cultures and resistance against oblivion. Embodying imagination, the art allows 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 search for words, of discovering forbidden and erased stories and apprehending one’s place in each of them. It is the time to choose what the places one left will remember in future. The future where we become the stories we tell.

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.


  • Curators
    Asia Tsisar
    Natasha Chychasova


    Junior curator
    Anastasiia Garazd


    Kateryna Aliinyk
    Piotr Armianovski
    Hryhorii Bondarenko
    Andrii Dostliev
    Kateryna Yermolayeva
    Alevtina Kakhidze
    Olha Kuzyura
    Vitalii Kulykov
    Nina Laguta
    Zoya Laktionova
    Heorhii Mamardashvili
    Eliza Mamardashvili
    Daria Molokoiedova
    Sevilâ Nariman-qızı
    Viktoriia Rozentsveih
    Yurii Solovii
    Dasha Chechushkova


    Project manager
    Olena Kryvoruchko


    Olga Zhuk
    Olha Melnyk


    Technical director
    Serhii Diptan

  • Technical support
    Viktor Vlasiuk
    Roman Honcharenko
    Andrii Kasperskyi
    Serhii Svyshchuk


    Installation team
    Oleksandr Butenko
    Dmytro Hashynov
    Vitalii Hrushko
    Yurii Melnychuk
    Petro Tarnavskyi
    Vitalii Ternovyi
    Ihor Trotsenko


    Graphic design
    Valeriia Guievska


    Educational program
    Hanna Klymenko
    Liana Komardenko
    Olha Olkhovska


    PR & communications
    Sophia Bela
    Oksana Matsiuk
    Natalia Stanko
    Zoia Shevchuk


    Photo and video
    Oleksandr Popenko


    Text editing
    Oleksandr Stukalo


    Roman Hardashuk

  • Special thanks
    Iryna Aleksandrova
    Olena Apchel
    Vira Bondarenko
    Maryna Konieva
    Vitalii Kokhan
    Mykhailo Mulenko
    Tatyana Tumasyan
    Oles Fedoruk
    Yaroslav Fedoruk
    Kharkiv Municipal Gallery


    Project partner
    First Cambridge Centre


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