Thu, 23 Feb|
With (Y)our Own Eyes
Brave work of Ukrainian Photographers. Dedicating to brave Ukrainians.
Time & Location
23 Feb 2023, 10:00 GMT – 04 Mar 2023, 16:00 GMT
Maketank, 3-5 Paris St, Exeter EX1 2JB, UK
About the event
*Extended to 14th March*
To mark the tragic anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the country’s nine-year war for independence, Maketank, Exeter’s cultural laboratory, and the Devon Ukrainian Association are presenting an exhibition of frontline photography by Vlada and Kostiantyn Liberov.
Among the first civilians to enter Ukraine’s north-eastern Kharkiv region just behind the successful counteroffensive that forced the Russian military to retreat, the Liberovs have seen with their own eyes the horrors of this war and the joy of ‘liberated’ Ukrainians.
The Liberovs have travelled the country placing themselves in the heart of the conflict in Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, Bucha, Irpin, and many others. Speaking of their current work, Kostiantyn Liberov has said, ‘Our main task is to make sure that no one forgets about the war. It may sound strange, but we want to show all these horrors beautifully.’ They use social media to amplify the everyday experience of Ukrainian people and its defenders. Their photographs have appeared in magazines, newspapers, television and radio across the world, as well as on the social media pages of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and elsewhere.
Over the seven months of the invasion, the couple have regularly come under fire, steadfastly trying to be as close to the fighting as possible. ‘We are guided by the excellent quotation from [American-Hungarian war photographer] Robert Capa, who said, ‘If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough,’ Vlada said.
The Liberovs’ profoundly moving photographs were last exhibited at Maketank in June 2022 as part of the ‘I Welcome Refugees’ exhibition with Amnesty International Exeter. This new exhibition will present photos from the last six months and focus on themes of front lines, volunteer efforts, stories of people and their land.
Additionally, new artwork created by Ukrainians in Devon will also be displayed alongside documentary video footage by Alexandru Dragan from interviews with displaced Ukrainians in Devon over the last 10 months.
We invite to see Ukraine now with your own eyes and stand in solidarity with the defenders of our shared democratic ideals, as well as to better understand the experiences of our more than 1600 new residents in Devon from Ukraine.
‘One reason why Ukraine is holding on’, as Kostiantyn has said, ‘is because we haven’t been forgotten. Our Western partners haven’t forgotten us, and we haven’t let ourselves forget either.’
Please join us for a Vigil in support of Ukraine at Bedford Square on 24 February at 5:30pm.
We will then reconvene at Maketank for the exhibition’s opening and a welcoming space for conversation about the war at 7pm.
The exhibition will then continue to run until Saturday 4 March, Tues-Sat 10-4pm.
Maketank, 5 Paris Street, Exeter EX1 2JB Website: www.maketank.org.uk
Social media: @maketankexeter (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)
About the photographers: Before February 2022, the Liberovs were sought after wedding and portrait photographers and photography instructors in Odesa. After the full-scale Russian invasion, the Liberovs continued their work capturing the lives and experiences of ordinary people, only now those people were living through some of the darkest moments in Ukraine’s modern history. The Liberovs relocated to Kharkiv after its liberation to help the world see what is happening in Ukraine. They have been travelling at their own expense to the cities and places where the fighting is most active, to film and tell the stories of ordinary people, ordinary heroes who are living through this war. The goal of their project is to ensure that these people and their stories do not turn into dry statistics over the ensuing years. Because, in their opinion, that is why wars are repeated, because descendants forget that war is not about presidents and generals, it is, first of all, about ordinary people. For more information, please visit their website - https://libkos.com/
Maketank is a cultural laboratory for social change, located in the city centre of Exeter. It serves as a creative home for local and artistic communities to generate culture that moves people. We believe that there is a synergetic relationship between thriving artists and thriving communities.
The Devon Ukrainian Association was established to build a thriving Ukrainian community in Devon by creating platforms where people meet, exchange and help each other. We focus on the needs of newly arrived people from Ukraine and opportunities to amplify their voices concerning their wellbeing which is inextricably linked to Ukraine's fight for freedom and independence.