Have you wondered what is happening to important cultural treasures in Ukraine? Me too!
In all the coverage about the destruction and bombing in Ukraine, there is very little information about the damage or plunder of the heritage sites of Ukraine. I wonder why that is? I think of myself as pretty newsy, and curious but I find very little in the media sources I watch and read. Maybe I need a specialized media such as the UNESCO site, (tried to find specific news there and failed) but why wouldn’t the general public want to know about this peril to the culture of Ukraine? And why wouldn’t mainstream media want to write more stories about this?
As an artist, it grieves me terribly to think that there are seven World Heritage sites in Ukraine, designated by UNESCO as well as more than a thousand places of historic significance in the country, including statues, and monuments. So many of these are in peril, or already damaged or destroyed.
Here’s a few stories I’ve been able to find with my research. I will add the links here so that you can read or view further and I’ll add a summary paragraph for each. Maybe this will promote some sort of action from each of us:
City of L’viv founded in the late Middle Ages
Ukraine's Identity threatened by Russia's Invasion
The theater in Mariupol that was reduced to rubble when it was bombed by Russian forces Wednesday [3/16/22] is just one example of the risk the war poses to Ukraine's important cultural sites. Memorials, museums and churches, all places that speak to Ukraine's very identity, are all under threat from Russia's invasion. Jeffrey Brown reports for our arts and culture series, "CANVAS."
‘Under Threat’: Ukrainians Race To Protect Cultural Heritage Amid Russian Attacks
MSNBC (youtube) Mar. 7, 2022
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Ambassador William Taylor, and Ukraine’s Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Aleksander Tkachenko, join MSNBC’s Ari Melber to discuss the escalating conflict and the cultural history Putin’s forces are destroying.
Ukraine says Russia looted ancient gold artifacts from a museum.
New York Times April 30, 2022, 1:18 p.m.
Jeffrey Gettleman and Oleksandr Chubko
…historians said the looting of the artifacts in Melitopol is an even more egregious attempt to appropriate, and perhaps destroy, Ukraine’s cultural heritage.
“The Russians are making a war without rules,” said Oleksandr Symonenko, a fellow of Ukraine’s Archaeology Institute and a Scythian specialist. “This is not a war. It is destroying our life, our nature, our culture, our industry, everything. This is a crime.”
on Wednesday, she [Leila Ibrahimova, the director of the Melitopol Museum of Local History] received a call from a caretaker at the museum. The caretaker said Russian soldiers, along with intelligence officers and a Russian-speaking man in a white lab coat, had come to her house in the morning and ordered her, at gunpoint, to go with them to the museum.
They commanded her to take them to the Scythian gold.
The caretaker refused, Ms. Ibrahimova said. But the man in the white coat found the boxes anyway with the help of a Ukrainian, Evgeny Gorlachev, who was appointed by the Russian military as the museum’s new director, she said. A Russian crew filmed part of the robbery.
“We hid everything but somehow they found it,” she said.
What was stolen: at least 198 gold items, including ornaments in the form of flowers; gold plates; rare old weapons; 300-year-old silver coins; and special medals. She said many of the gold artifacts had been given to the Scythians by the Greeks._________________
How Ukrainians are saving art during the War
VOX April 8, 2022 (youtube)
From the very beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, identity has been at the center of Putin’s agenda. And as cultural sites all over the country sustain damage, it is becoming increasingly clear that erasing the cultural and historical markers of Ukraine are a key facet of Russia’s plan. Ukraine is home to a vast array of visual and material culture — museums, monuments, archives, and architecture — all of which is at grave risk of destruction, both collateral and intentional.
President Volodymyr Zelensky lamented the loss of cultural treasures in his nightly address. After more than two months of war, he said, “nearly 200 cultural heritage sites already” had been destroyed or damaged.
Since the war began, I launched a successful campaign to give away my artwork in exchange for donations to charities serving refugees and cultural protection. The charities that were selected were the choice of the art patrons who participated, and included Doctors Without Borders, UNICEF, and World Central Kitchen.
Once we reached a total of $2700 in donations, and the artwork was shipped, I felt it was time to shift into another direction for my support. Here’s a link to my newsletter of May 10, 2022, that describes a new body of work that I have created and now listed on my website.https://mailchi.mp/57018de4b471/ive-got-a-new-series-to-share-with-you
A portion of sales of these monoprints will be donated to UNESCO for the protection of Ukrainian cultural sites. https://whc.unesco.org/en/donation
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