How Can Art Fight Back? Refugee Artists and the Ukrainian Crisis

Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room (1219 International Affairs Building)

Please join the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University for a presentation by Nazar Kozak (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, 2016-17 Fulbright scholar at the Ukrainian Museum in New York).

Russia’s “hybrid war” against Ukraine caused more than a million refugees to flee from the Crimean peninsula and Donbas region. Artists were among them. While coping with the challenge of unbelonging to a new social environment with a failed state system unprepared to embrace them, some of the refugee artists used this situation to fuel their creativity and explore quite new and unusual forms of expression. Some examples include the Izolyatsia (Isolation) group evacuated from the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, now occupied by Russia-backed fighters, who figured out a way to fight back by staging a mock occupation of the Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale of 2015. Based on interviews with Ukrainian refugee artists, this lecture explores the change in their creative approaches caused by the experience of displacement and war.

Nazar Kozak is a senior research scholar at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. He has also taught art history in the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. His current research focuses on post-Byzantine iconography and contemporary activist art. Presently, he is a Fulbright scholar in the Ukrainian Museum in New York.

This event is free and open to the public.