"I have a crisis for you": Women Artists of Ukraine Respond to War


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An exhibit curated by Grace Mahoney and Jessica Zychowicz

Featuring work by Kinder Album, JT Blatty, Oksana Briukhovetska (MFA, Stamps School of Art and Design), Oksana Kazmina, Sonya Hukaylo, Svetlana Lavochkina, Kateryna Lisovenko, and Lyuba Yakimchuk

August 25—December 16, 2022

Lane Hall Exhibit Space (open M-F, 9am-4pm)
204 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

About the exhibit:

In February 2022, the world witnessed the invasion of Ukraine and all-out war of aggression by the Russian Federation. Since this time, massive casualties, human rights violations, and an unprecedented refugee crisis have ensued. Women artists of Ukraine have responded. They paint on found materials in refugee housing, illustrate in bomb shelters, photograph their shelled cities wearing press passes and bulletproof jackets. They document, create, and share. They post their daily journals and images on social media. They perform at the Grammy Awards. They know their message is powerful, and the amplification of their voices is critical for victory in a very real battle for survival.

Curated by Grace Mahoney (U-M Slavic Languages and Literatures) and Jessica Zychowicz, Ph.D. (Fulbright Ukraine and U-M Alumna), "I have a crisis for you": Women Artists of Ukraine Respond to War showcases work created by women artists in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine. The involved artists are painters, photographers, filmmakers, poets, translators, and textile artists. Many of the works exhibited demonstrate a continuity of engagement by the artists with the topic of war, especially since 2014 when the people of Ukraine gathered in a “Revolution of Dignity” against attempts by the Russian Federation to control the country’s independence resulting in Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and backing of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s east. 

The featured artists have also been selected because of their prominent interest and exploration of issues relating to gender in their works. The title for this exhibit comes from a poem of the same name by Lyuba Yakimchuk:


“— our love’s gone missing, I explain to a friend/ it vanished in one of the wars/ we waged in our kitchen/ — change the word ‘war’ to ‘crisis,’ he suggests/ because a crisis is something everyone has from time to time.”

Like in Yakimchuk’s poem, many of these artists approach the war with personal perspectives. They intertwine, juxtapose, and disrupt experiences of war with the intimacies of personal relationships, the workings interior lives, and perceptions of social roles. The featured artworks and documents engage a range of subjects from women volunteering as combatants to the processes of grieving and reflect ongoing discourses in Ukrainian feminist scholarship. 

The exhibit is accompanied by a companion website which includes an expanded set of informational and aid-related resources. 

UM departments or instructors may schedule a class visit by emailing LaneHallExhibits@umich.edu.

About the Curators:

Grace Mahoney is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Michigan's Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and IRWG Graduate Fellow for Exhibits. Jessica Zychowicz, (Ph.D. '16) is Director of Fulbright Ukraine and author of Superfluous Women: Art, Feminism, and Revolution in Twenty-First Century Ukraine.

Related Events:

Opening Reception with comments by the curators
Thursday, September 15th 2022, 4-6pm ET, 
Lane Hall, 204 S. State St.

Artists’ Roundtable (Hybrid)
Friday, September 16th 2022, 3:30-5pm ET
Weiser Hall, 1010 and Zoom
Register here

Exhibit Sponsors:

  • Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies
  • Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Department of Women's & Gender Studies
  • Institute for Research on Women & Gender (IRWG)
  • Museum Studies Program
  • Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia
  • Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies
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