‘Women at War’ Ukrainian Art Exhibit Pauses in Eastern Connecticut – NBC Connecticut


Ukrainian women continue to create during the crisis, using art to share war stories in a new traveling exhibit making a stop in eastern Connecticut.

The art exhibit, “Women at War,” opened this week in the art gallery at Eastern Connecticut State University. The exhibition is a partnership between Fridman Gallery in New York and Volochyn Gallery in Kyiv, Ukraine. Curated by Monika Fabijanska, the exhibition presents around 50 works of art by a dozen Ukrainian artists.

“Traditional history as we know it, passed down from generation to generation, is spoken in the male voice,” Fabijanksa said. “I wondered what would happen if we gave voice to women. What would we hear from them?

About half of the works in the exhibition were created before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, highlighting the struggle that has existed in Ukraine for years. Fabijanska described the exhibit as an effort to raise awareness of Ukrainian art in the United States and to aid the war effort through education and appreciation of Ukrainian culture.

Depicted in the exhibit, Fabijanksa said people would learn more about the plight of women during the war.

“Yet the majority of society experiences war through traditional gender roles,” Fabijanksa said. “There is this division and the art you will see in the exhibition will speak to it – being a mother during the war, being raped during the war, having to leave your boyfriend when you escape.

Artists focus on the vanquished rather than the victors, Fabijanska said, fighting against the idea of ​​heroism and showing the cost of war to society as a whole.

As well as being used to document and inform, art also helps to process trauma.

“Art helps to survive this,” Fabijanksa said.

Lesia Khomenko has four pieces presented in the exhibition. She worked as an artist in Kyiv, but fled the country with her daughter after the large-scale invasion. One of Khomenko’s paintings depicts her husband, Max, who has gone from musician and artist to soldier.

“I wanted to show the military situation through him, through his point of view, a very personal point of view,” Khomenko said.

Khomenko, alongside curator Fabijanksa, will speak at an exhibition opening reception on Thursday, September 15 at 3 p.m. A full schedule of programs can be viewed here.

The traveling exhibition will be in Willimantic at ESCU until mid-October.

“It’s a quiet corner of our state and I wanted to hear the sounds of this real war right now,” said Julia Wintner, Eastern Gallery Coordinator. “I think art transcends all wars, and artists can teach us how to survive and continue to be creative in times of crisis. I think that’s an important lesson for everyone, whether we’re at war or we are here in America.


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