Stories that you confided to us

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Stories that you confided to us

Exhibition VOICES by the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation's Museum of Civilian Voices impresses: guests' comments

The Museum of the History of the City of Kyiv is hosting the exhibition VOICES, a multidimensional creative exposition based on true stories of Ukrainians about the war collected by the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation.

The exhibition opened for the first time the multimedia space of the Museum of Civilian Voices with an art installation by GOGOLFEST and seeks to reveal the depth and power of human stories, to comprehend and reflect on the events of the war through the effect of presence created by art objects.

Exhibition VOICES by the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation's Museum of Civilian Voices impresses: guests' comments

"Since 2014, the Museum of Civilian Voices has accumulated more than 100,000 living stories. There are many initiatives in Ukraine that record the events of the war. Our idea is to create a platform where these initiatives can talk, look for common answers and combine huge amounts of data into systems," says Nataliia Yemchenko, member of the Supervisory Board of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation.

The opening of the multimedia space as part of the VOICES exhibition was one of the first joint steps of the partnership between the Museum of Civilian Voices and the Museum of the History of the City of Kyiv. This is not a purely exhibition space, but a living, rich space that creates a rich emotional experience, leaving deep impressions and memories. The entire exhibition is designed to lead the visitor through darkness to light.

The key element of the exhibition is a triptych of installations dedicated to the loss of home and the questions "What is home? Where is it? What or who is it?":

- "City" consists of abandoned, empty houses that symbolise Ukrainian cities affected by the war;

- "Pillar of Destroyed Life" is an installation made of real things, artefacts of war that belong to specific people.

- "Wall of Peaceful Figures" is an installation of figures with suitcases on their backs, symbolising people who were forced to leave because of the war.

The "Pillar of Destroyed Life" and the "Wall of Peaceful Figures" contain suitcases with tablets, which can be used to listen to real stories of people who witnessed the war, collected by the Museum of Civilian Voices.

Vlad Troitskyi, the founder of GOGOLFEST, a well-known theatre director and the author of the idea for the VOICES exhibition, spoke about its purpose:

"The Museum of Civilian Voices" preserves the history of the country firsthand. The exhibition is aimed at making the truth about the evil that Russia is doing in Ukraine visible and felt by the world. It touches on a very painful and sensitive point. Therefore, we need to be delicate, truthful and fearless at the same time, and these are opposite tasks. Each of us sees a lot of documentary recordings of reality every day. When you look at photographs, you have no distance, because you see a window into the world. The task of art is to reveal other dimensions of this reality, to show its complexity and multilayered nature."

Andriy Palatnyi, a theatre curator at GOGOLFEST and the exhibition's line producer, spoke about the exhibition's meanings:

"How to convey the emotions and feelings that arise when watching stories? The most accurate way to do this is through a multimedia installation, where video, audio and physical art objects create a single space. On the one hand, it reveals the tragedy of war, and on the other hand, the willpower and dignity of people who managed to preserve themselves despite its horrors. The uniqueness of the project lies in the story of what is happening now. It is believed that after the 10th person, the number of victims becomes a statistic. To break out of this statistics, to return to each story individually, is the super-task we have set for ourselves."

The sound installation with five-channel surround sound for the exhibition was created by Yana Shliabanska, a Ukrainian composer and sound artist:

"I spent hours listening to video and audio recordings of voices. I noticed how people who are going through terrible things find something bright, a certain support to continue their journey... This is a very important mission - to be a carrier of Ukrainian culture, history, and stories about the war in the right place. Attention to Ukraine is necessary now. In particular, through music, we do projects to make Ukrainians more visible in the world."

The Dakh Trio actors prepared a poetic and musical composition for the opening of the exhibition. In addition, the exhibition includes a video sequence that compiles documentary footage, animation, video art, and artefacts from the Museum's archive.

The exhibition was visited by famous Ukrainians. Among them was Yevhen Malolietka, a world-renowned photojournalist, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and co-author of the film 20 Days in Mariupol, which won an Oscar in March 2024. Yevhen shared his impressions of the exhibition:

"This is a good exhibition. It conveys the mood. The whole scene with graphics shows the reality in a strong and beautiful way. It has a good focus - that is, everything is shown as it was, because not everyone was at the epicentre of events and saw the whole picture with their own eyes. I hope that the exhibition will be exhibited abroad. Not everyone wants to see the grief that our country is experiencing, but people need to know about it. And transferring these events to a different plane is an important work done by the creators of the exhibition."

One of the guests of the exhibition was Pavlo Zibrov, People's Artist of Ukraine. The famous singer visited the exhibition with his family and spoke about what he saw:

"I had goosebumps all the time. On the floor - the effect of ash underfoot, smoke, intense sounds, tracks, people's voices. On the screens, there was a video that immersed you in the installation, which, unfortunately, is our life. We could not hold back our tears. There are many emotions - despair, regret, injustice, rage... This exhibition should be shown in all European capitals, to all foreigners, officials, those who are already "tired" and living in a different reality. It is extremely important! This is our history, which cannot be rewritten!"

Other visitors of the exhibition also shared their emotions. Yuliia Nesteriak from Kyiv left a heartfelt comment.

"The feet refuse to walk on the floor of the museum space, which resembles ashes - charred pieces - like fragments of someone's life - peaceful, carefree, happy... Lives that were destroyed in a moment and put into suitcases... Each suitcase is the Universe. Voices and sounds seem to come from every crack of a small smoky room, filling the space with despair, sadness and at the same time hope - they survived! Alive!!! With the fragments of their previous life. With destroyed roots. Cut off from their native land. But with the power of their kind in their hearts... The voices are broken phrases. The connection was broken, the life was interrupted... And a loud, confident female voice that echoes, covering all other sounds and voices: "Wherever I stand, I will stand!" This is how Ukraine speaks. And faith dispels the longing. We will stand. We will win."

"On the one hand, this is what we live in now and are used to it. On the other hand, there are people who are experiencing more terrible events, it is even more difficult for them. I would recommend going to the exhibition to people who have not seen it. These are strong emotions that are very touching... We need to unite, to help, to defend our land, our family," said Inna, a resident of Kyiv, who also visited the exhibition.

You can visit the exhibition VOICES free of charge until April 26, 2024 at the Museum of the History of the City of Kyiv at 7 Bohdan Khmelnytskyi Street. Curatorial tours of the exhibition are held every Saturday at 3pm.

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