KYIV – Ahead of the sixth anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity, the Ukraine Crisis Media Center on October 30 installed the sculpture “Confrontation” on Taras Shevchenko Boulevard in Kyiv. It comes as an attempt to visualize the feelings of inner tension, conflict and relentless force beyond reason.
The author of the sculpture is Oleksiy Zolotaryov, who won the “Price of Freedom” competition held by Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC) announced to conceive and commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity and of the UCMC.
Nataliya Popovych, co-founder of Ukraine Crisis Media Center, explained: “We mainly work in the media, but we wanted our work this time to have not only a virtual but also a physical footprint, that’s why we turned to an artistic interpretation of the price of freedom. The project by Oleksiy Zolotaryov is the concept that our jury liked most. Over the last five years, we were often at the forefront of the hybrid information confrontation, the struggle for the hearts and minds of the people in Ukraine and abroad. We understand that it is of utmost importance that people think critically and under no circumstances forget about the huge price that Ukraine is paying daily for its freedom and dignity and that they ask themselves every day: what is my responsibility as a professional, human and citizen? How do I contribute so that the price of freedom does not grow even more? What can I do to expand the space of freedom and dignity at home and everywhere?”
The competition was held in January. Selected artists were invited to participate. Jury members were Pavlo Hudymov, curator of Ukrainian and international arts projects; Kateryna Filyuk, art critic, curator at IZOLYATSIA foundation; Tetyana Filevska, cultural manager, creative director at the Ukrainian Institute; Ms. Popovych and Hennadiy Kurochka, UCMC co-founders; and Olesya Drashkaba, UCMC’s creative strategist and editor-in-chief of Uchoose.info – a media project on critical thinking.
The works were evaluated on how their ideas reflected the theme reaches and how professional their sketches were, as well as by their ability to produce the installation to meet the deadline and stay within the budget. Funds for the “Price of Freedom” project were provided as part of the UCMC’s institutional activities.
“Oleksiy’s work inspired us because everyone may find many senses here. One may see a solid form that is being torn apart from within, as well as containment, confrontation,” Ms. Drashkaba said.
Mr. Zolotaryov commented: “Confrontation is what is going on inside each one of us, in the city, in the country, in the world in general. It is about the challenges that we are facing. This work is, first of all, about my own emotions that I lived through five years ago while everyone around me, the entire society, was feeling the same. Everyone can talk about it in their own way, but we have all lived through it. It is important to remember why it happened. An object that pops up in the public space starts communicating with people. Regardless of the author’s original idea, it leaves space for other interpretations.”
The beginning of Taras Shevchenko Boulevard was chosen for the installation as it used to be the site of a pedestal bearing a symbol of the totalitarian past. After the Lenin monument was toppled, it turned into a site for reflections by contemporary artists.
“This is already the sixth artistic intervention happening on this site. It should always belong to the people. I hope that such interventions will continue – not just here but also in other places in Kyiv that are socially important,” said Diana Popova, director of the culture department at the Kyiv City State Administration.
“This extremely powerful symbol of freedom is in the right place. We will be searching for other locations that are equally significant both in Ukraine and abroad for a future exposition,” Ms. Popovych said.
The installation will remain on Taras Shevchenko Boulevard for several months. It will be then travel to other locations. The next possible location is on European Square in Kyiv, in front of the Ukrainian House.