Project MARIA memorializes the millions of victims of the 1932-33 famine in Soviet Ukraine – an event widely thought to be genocidal. While the number of victims is a highly debated point, it is clear that the famine was political and intentional: a state-sponsored assault on a single ethnic group as part of the Soviet Union’s new socio-economic model that required the subjugation of a sizable population whose national consciousness stood in the way of the new order.
Produced across platforms including books, installations, textile sculptures, performance, lectures and film, the project manifests my intellectual and emotional response, informed by current research and the stories shared by survivors. I knew three. I have never forgotten the stories one survivor told me as I was a growing up on the Canadian prairies. She was a youth during the famine and described a gnawing hunger and how she had to resort to eating the soles of her shoes, as the only way to survive. These images and feelings have never left me. I read witness testimonies including that of Tetiana. She recalled that her sister, “had a large, swollen stomach, and her neck was long and thin like a bird’s neck. People didn’t look like people — they were more like starving ghosts.” These accounts made such an impression on my young mind and I’ve carried them with me throughout my entire life as I searched for my identity as a Canadian of Ukrainian descent.
Project MARIA will be exhibited internationally over a five-year period and as a mobile art platform it is designed to move between and across national, cultural and political borders.
The installation serves as a mobile memorial, inviting visitors to experience and engage with the works intellectually and sensually. The are accompanied by works across several platforms: a special limited edition art book entitled TRANSFIGURATION, a limited edition book entitled MARIA, a film, textile figurative sculptures and a lecture series.
The book TRANSFIGURATION is held in the private and rare and special collections of the following institutions:
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University, Durham
Green Library-Special Collections. Stanford University, Stanford
Richter Library-Special Collections. University of Miami. Coral Gables
Boston Athenaeum. Boston
Rare Books & Special Collections. Library of Congress. Washington
Davidson Library-Special Collections. University of California, Santa Barbara
Butler Library-Special Collections, Columbia University, New York
Hawthorne-Longfellow Library-Special Collections. Bowdoin College, Brunswick
Dodds Special Collections Library. University of Connecticut, Storrs
Olin Library-Special Collections. Wesleyan University, Middletown
Morris Library-Special Collections. University of Delaware, Newark
TRANSFIGURATION is represented by TWO PONDS Press in the US. For more information contact TWO PONDS PRESS