「My secret chamber(from the series ‘Hotel of silent’)」 2019 video
「Sunflower」 photo – “Sunflower” Solidary Community Center (Yulia Krivich, Taras Gembik)
「Crisis Kiosk」 2023 Mixed Media – “Sunflower” Solidary Community Center (Yulia Krivich, Taras Gembik), Marta Romankiv
「My secret chamber(from the series ‘Hotel of silent’)」
In the early 1960s, Vasily Symonenko, together with friends Alla Horska and Les Tanyuk, found anonymous burials of victims in cemeteries in Bykovnia near Kyiv. This included those on the Ukrainian Katyn List: people murdered during political repression by the NKVD. He would report the matter to Soviet authorities, and a few months later, he was fatally beaten by militia officers at Smile train station. In 1965, when secret agents drowned out the crowd at the premiere of Sergei Parajanov’s film, Vasily Stus shouted: “Whoever is against tyranny – let him stand up!”. For participating in the first public protest against repression in the USSR, he was dismissed from the Kyiv Institute of Literature. A few years later, during another wave of arrests, the court sentenced him to five years in the gulag and three years in exile for “anti-Soviet agitation.” He would return in 1979, but less than a year later would be sentenced again, this time to 10 years in prison and 5 years in exile. He died in a punishment cell after starting a hunger strike.
In the mid-1960s’ Lina Kostenko signed a letter of protest against the arrests of Ukrainian intelligentsia. During the trial of the Horyn brothers, she showered the defendants with flowers. She initiated speeches in defense of writers and wrote petitions for their release. She found herself blacklisted by the Soviet government. For a dozen years she would write exclusively for a drawer.
Taras Gembik’s film, which was made as a part of “Hotel Silence,” collages the works of Ukrainian poets and poets and fills the title chamber with words — weapons in the fight against the totalitarian system: a system whose echoes still reverberate from its walls. “Do you know that you are a human being / Do you know it or not / Your smile – the only one / Your passion – the only one / Your eyes – the only one / Tomorrow there will be no you / Tomorrow on this earth/ Other people will walk / Other people will love / Good, kind and bad.” He writes in a time frame between the first and second imprisonments of Stus.
Text by Anna Batko
「Sunflower」 – “Sunflower” Solidary Community Center (Yulia Krivich, Taras Gembik)
In solidarity with Ukraine, we, Marta Romankiv, Yulia Krivich, Asia Tsisar, Taras Gembik, Planeta, Kat Oleshko, Juliana Alimova, Nadia Snopek, invite everyone to plant sunflowers in their cities – in lawns, flowerbeds and parks, as well as other public places like the green patches in front of the embassies and on other main squares. We think of this as a global act of solidarity with Ukraine and our struggle for freedom and peace in Europe!
We also believe this is an act of resistance.
Let´s cover all the cities in the world with sunflowers this spring! Their bright colours will also cover the patches in front of each Russian embassy and will become a living monument to commemorate the victims of the devastating war Russia has waged against Ukraine.
Put two to three seeds about 5-8 cm deep into the soil, and please give each of those batches some space to grow (around 50 x 75 cm).
To be more certain that your sunflowers will grow, you can spread the seeds on a humid piece of cloth or bandage a week prior to the sowing. After that you need to choose the strongest of your seeds to plant. An ideal spot would have lots of sun and would be protected from strong winds.
If you want to encourage your sunflowers to grow, you can add some fertilizer containing potassium, boron and molybdenum. Sunflowers do enjoy water a lot, but please be a bit careful here: if the soil gets too much water your sunflowers might struggle to keep standing upright due to the softer ground, or their roots might begin to catch mold.
We will finally be able to greet our sunflowers from July through September!
On a side note: Sunflowers are a matter of interest for our local bees, who will also enjoy our flower´s nectar and pollen on their journeys through our neighborhoods.
We invite you to a joint sunflower meeting in front of the Russian Embassy!
This is our common struggle!
Initiators of the action: Yulia Krivich, Marta Romankiv, Asia Tsisar, Taras Gembik, Planeta, Kat Oleshko, Juliana Alimova, Nadia Snopek
Photos: Yulia Krivich
「Crisis Kiosk」- “Sunflower” Solidary Community Center (Yulia Krivich, Taras Gembik), Marta Romankiv
Crisis Kiosk is a reaction to the war that has been going on in Europe since 24 February 2022, as well as the global economic crisis. Times of crisis often allow us to see the importance of mutual support and grassroots – how much pieces of bread can be distributed while waiting for top-down help and systemic solutions. We want you to divide and share your survival recipes with us, too. You can contribute by writing down intergenerational stories on the steps of the Encouragement around food, community, and the often considerable creativity involved in survival.
We focus on the theme of solidarity, as well as the social and political changes brought about by the criminal Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the stories of both dependency and support that come from a colonised land connected by veins to the local inhabitants, but also to the rest of the world. Ukraine’s territory is renowned for its fertile soil and food resources, and the war in its territories is also a struggle for these
Born in 1996 in Kamień Košierski(Ukraine). Performer, cultural worker. He has been living in Poland since 2013. Co-founder of the collective Blyzkist, or proximity, focusing on creating a community of diverse people with experience of migration and refugeeism, as well as the Solidarny Dom Kultury “Słonecznik” at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. The artist tours exhibitions, translating art into the language of personal empathy and beauty, organises performances, and translates exhibitions into Ukrainian in other galleries as well.
Sunflower Solidarity Community Center 《Emergency Kiosk》 Performance
Discover the truth and start decolonisation on Malanka Day with Ukrainian food and fortune-telling.
Dates: 1/28 Sat. 17.30-19.00
Performers: Sunflower Solidarity Community Center (Yulia Krivich, Taras Gembik)
Venue: 5F Senba Excel Building