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Post-Soviet Graffiti

Street Art of the Ukrainian Revolution

Post-Soviet Graffiti June 6, 2014 6 Comments on Street Art of the Ukrainian Revolution
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Putin, as Hitler, Playing with Ukrainian and Russian DNA. Underneath Dnipro-Station, Dnipro River Hall of Fame. March and April 2014. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong)

Special Post-Soviet Graffiti dispatch by Christian Szopiński, Magdalena Patalong, Anna Anselm, Marina Lechleider, and Alina Kozłowska. The group travelled from Berlin to Kyiv in March and April 2014 to investigate and photograph the street art of the Ukrainian uprising. 

Our results provide us with an understanding of a protest movement that condemns the old regime and desires a democratic future with a new national consciousness – and, in case of need, is also ready to defend it.

Street Art – vandalism or an artistic form of political protest? This is the question we, five students of the Free University of Berlin, concentrate on as part of the project course “Civil disobedience? Society and state in Eastern Europe” within our Master’s program in East-European Studies.

To study this question, we travelled to Kiev. As a central starting point of upheaval in Ukraine, the city offers the perfect breeding ground for political protest in the form of street art. In March and April this year we wandered through Kiev searching for paintings, graffiti and stickers, visited the Maidan, and spoke with artists, activists, and passers-by.

Artistic protest was particularly evident on the Maidan – the center of the Ukrainian revolution – and in its immediate vicinity. Countless graffiti, murals, and stickers testified to the fury regarding the Yanukovych-regime. Verbal abuse and the desire to condemn the previous authority dominated the street scene. However, recent works highlighted a second pertinent issue: Russia as an aggressor upon Ukrainian territory. Using different styles, the artists associated Russia with the Nazi regime, targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin as resembling Hitler or with a gunshot wound in the head. We frequently observed such gunshot wounds, particularly in the heads of politicians symbolic of the aggression against the protesters. The desire for change and the recourse of national heroes were also popular motives.

Our results provide us with an understanding of a protest movement that condemns the old regime and desires a democratic future with a new national consciousness – and, in case of need, is also ready to defend it.

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“No war!” Maiden Square. March and April 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong)

 

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“(Don’t) Buy Russian Products!” Khreshchatyk Station. March and April 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong)

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“Down with Putin (dressed as Hitler).” Maiden Square. March and April 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong).

 

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“Yanukovich: Pederast; We stay at Maidan till he resigns!” Maiden Square. March and April 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong)

 

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Pro- and Anti-Revolution Stickers. Maiden Square. March and April 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong).

 

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“Will the Government Carry the Baton?” Maiden Square. March and April 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong).

 

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Wall of flyers and stickers. Maiden Square. March and April 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong).

 

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“The Heroes of Maiden Will Never be Forgotten.” Maiden Square. March and April 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong)

 

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“(Reference to Ukrainian Poet Taras Szewczenko) “In our home, our own freedom, our own strength and our own truth.” Downtown Kyiv. March and April 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong)

 

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“Our Whole Life is a War.” Maiden Square. March and April 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong)

 

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“You Cannot be Burned in Your Own Fire.” Maiden Square. March and April 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong)

 

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“He who was strengthened by the fire, cannot be burned.” Dnipro River Hall of Fame. 31 March 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong)

 

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“Guess who?” Downtown Kyiv. 31 March 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong)

 

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“Freedom is victory,” Near Ocean Plaza, Petrivka Station. March and April 2014. Kyiv, Ukraine. (Photo: Magdalena Patalong)

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6 Comments

  1. alexandra June 6, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    GLORY TO UKRAINE .. GLORY TO ITS HEROES…. love the art

  2. rupertbu June 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    re-posted with active link: http://rupertbuukraine.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/street-art-of-ukrainian-revolution-tks.html and subsequently G+ through to twitter

  3. kees van dijk October 19, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    J’ai un idée que j’aimerais partager et qui est de réaliser une installation artistique en Ukraine. Pour cela, il me serais utile d’avoir des renseignements, des conseils et également des contacts ici et là bas en fin de sensibiliser le plus grand nombre. “Paris te souris “,notre association défend par l’art les ambitions de la France dans le monde. Je crois en la France et je rêve d’une Europe unie alors il est dans notre devoir de favoriser les échanges culturelles pour se montrer solidaire notamment pendant des périodes de difficultée et de conflit. Dans cette attente, veuillez reçevoir mes sincères salutations.

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