Kyiv is mutilated with outdoor advertising and jingoistic murals

Author : Zhanna Kadyrova

Source : 112 Ukraine

Ukraine's artist Zhanna Kadyrova shared her vision of modern Kyiv
13:52, 21 September 2016

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She got almost all the major art awards Ukraine - Award of Kazimir Malevich and Kyiv Sculpture Project for the PinchukArtCentre main prize. She was one of the first who started working in the rare technique of site specific - to combine the art works and public space. Asphalt, broken tiles, newspapers – Zhanna Kadyrova is able to revive even the most mundane materials. Zhanna does not have higher art education. But her work were presented at the Biennale in Poland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, and the UK. In an interview with she told about the complex of modern society, jingoism, and her vision of modern Kyiv.

Related: Grandpa Lenin painted with the colours of Ukrainian flag

Kadyrova’s works for Kyiv

When I have got an opportunity to make an artistic gesture for the city, I decided to create something that would interact with society and have a utilitarian function. "Bench-graphics." However, to date, only one of the benches remained, and it needs restoration, and now the money for art just cannot be found. Everyone is trying to hide behind the war. My idea is to depict something intangible that is in everyday life, but no one pays attention for it.

Related: Gogolfest: 200 art events of Kyiv at one place

Things that spoil the appearance of Kyiv

This unsettled amount of advertising in the old town is just unacceptable. In Venice, even supermarkets signs are adjusted to the old facades. Also, these jingoistic patriotic murals; there is a huge number of them now. They just find someone who is ready to give money for the paints and do not think about the artistic value. Of course, not all the murals are bad, but they need to be agreed!

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 Earlier, there were mosaics (which are actively removed as a part of decommunization), and so they were discussed at the architectural and artistic boards, and then they got the right to appear in the city. Objects were organically fit into the urban space, they correlated with the structure of the city.

Related: Murals: Kyiv style

Related: One of world highest murals painted in Kyiv

Related: Train-mural to run in Kyiv Subway

You can find good examples of murals near Andriivsky usviz. Mural depicting Nigoyan is a relevant work, because it is placed at the Square of Heavenly Hundred. But painting Cossacks and Hrushevsky is sharovarschyna (a reference to wearing traditional Cossak-style trousers to show the pseudo-patriotic intentions). Residential areas need a new color, historic center needs to remain historic.

Why I love Kyiv

I was born in Kyiv and always perceived as a given, but when I started to travel around the world, I re-estimated it. We have a unique structure of the city, the hills, the atmosphere... when my friends from abroad come, they look at Trukhaniv island and say wow, you have a beach in the city center!

On the support of charitable projects

In Kyiv Children’s Hospital (“OKHMATDET”, acronym for “mother and child care”), there is a department for children with AIDS. Next to the hospital there is a green area where I wanted to build a play fountain with benches, slides, with sculptures of children who clamped a stream of water, and it beats in different directions. The cost of this project is 20 thousand euros. I was ready to work for free, but for several years no one wants to donate their money for the materials. Yes, I remember that there is war in the eastern Ukraine, but we must keep the cultural front too.

Related: Grandpa Lenin painted with the colours of Ukrainian flag

Creative routes of Kyiv

Peyzazhna alley is a place of worship for creativity! It is close to the Art Academy, and University of Karpenko-Kary. It has interesting landscape of hills, from which you can see the old Kyiv. Andriivsky uzviz, numerous galleries…

I recommend you to walk the pedestrian bridge and get to the unique Truhaniv Island.
I also advise to visit Poshtova Ploshcha, Mariinsky Park, and the National Museum of Art.

Favorite city sculptures

People's Friendship Arch - a large composition, it is beautiful to watch. Motherland Monument, it is more old style and primitive, but my foreign friends are just exited by this Soviet modernism.


Decommunization is like fighting with ghosts! Spending budget money, breaking old mosaics… It is just drawing attention from the real problems. They destroyed Lenin’s monument, so who won? How can you deny your history? You just need to rethink it, to understand what is good and what is not.

Related: Contradictions in Ukraine’s decommunization reform

Maybe someone is allergic to the Soviet Union, but this Soviet Union electrified all the villages, built the roads and subways. Why don’t we close the metro stations then? How you can give up your past? It is necessary to analyze it.

Related: 137 newspapers and magazines to be decommunizated

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