Moving Forward. The Orange Revolution.
May 6 – 22, 2005
This exhibit documents a historical event of out time that mobilized millions of Ukrainians in Ukraine and beyond, realizing the ideals of freedom. ?Moving Forward?, a photo-installation is recorded by art students that took part in the Orange Revolution on the Maidan.
This installation is curated by two of these young people, Ostap Lozynskiy and Tamara Hridiayeva, who are bringing this exhibit to Toronto at the invitation of the Ukrainian Canadian Art Foundation. They have shown it within Ukraine and Poland, and will be speaking of their experiences during the show in Toronto.
Courage and idealism?those have been the driving forces behind every revolution, no less, the Orange Revolution. The young people of Ukraine learned their idealism at the knees of their parents and grandparents, hearing of their pain and frustration of living in a corrupt regime. Or from the verses of Shevchenko which they recited on a school stage, girls with bows in their hair, boys dressed in older brothers? suits. Courage perhaps came from remembering stories of a great-grandfather?s heroism in UPA. When events of the corrupt election, fraud and abuse reached a breaking point in people?s patience, the students and young teachers of Lviv, along with the rest of the country, organized themselves to demonstrate in Kyiv. Like spring buds in a dormant tree, they were there first.
These photographs (totalling over 300) encompass those historic days, showing the organizational work such as sewing flags and orange scarves, setting up tents, kitchens, etc. They show the initial euphoria, the belief in Victor Yushchenko, the camaraderie, the joy of doing something so worthwhile. Eventually, after days and nights of shouting, marching in freezing temperatures, lack of sleep, all this showing in exhausted but beaming faces, they won the day.
Yet, they had the wisdom to control naturally youthful temperaments, and guarded against violence, even when confronted with opposing groups. They set up their own tent city on Khreshchatyk Street. Conscious of the Kuchma government?s efforts to portray them as anarchists and terrorists, they fenced off the encampment, and let in only those they knew. Whatever violence could happen, they could say it didn?t begin there. They stayed, and stayed: ?We will stay here as long as it takes, to protect our choice, to get our freedom. We will not give power back to the bandits.?
Seeing their youthful faces on T.V., their enthusiasm inspired our young people here in Canada who also came out in masses to suffer the cold, to shout and demonstrate, to speak to press, to finally realize what their upbringing meant when they recited, in our own church basement stages: ?liubit Ukrainu, liubit? (love Ukraine, love Ukraine). Here, as in Kyiv, there were people who were out there the whole 17 days, until the election results reflected the true will of the people. It was a wave that could not be stopped. We are very proud of all Ukrainians and supporters who came out, with courage and idealism, to stand up to a corrupt regime. It was a demonstration of the human spirit.
As the students of Lviv lived through this incredible drama, they took photographs. Come and see them. You will be moved.
Toronto ? An installation of photographs taken by 12 art students, participants of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, opened at the KUMF gallery in Toronto on May 7. The two curators of the exhibit – Ostap Lozynskiy and Tamara Hridiayeva – came from Lviv at the invitation of the KUMF gallery. The photos they brought were
installed on hanging panels so that anyone entering the room immediately felt as if he were in the middle of the events depicted in the photos.
Present at the opening were two Members of Parliament ? Sarmite Bulte, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Culture and representative for the Parkdale-High Park constituency where the KUMF gallery is located, and Borys Wrzesnewsky, well known to the Ukrainian community for his support of the Orange Revolution in Parliament and his participation in the events in Kyiv. Also present at the opening was the Consul-General of Ukraine, Dr. Ihor Lossowsky who was part of the mini-Orange Revolution on Bloor Street when Toronto Ukrainians gathered in front of the Consulate every day during the events in Kyiv.
The guests from Ukraine explained their curatorial work in putting together the exhibit and provided those present with origami cranes they had made out of orange paper as mementos. The next day, Saturday morning, they gave a tour of the exhibit for Ukrainian school students.