I did not grow up in a climate of fear or famine. My homeland was one of Saturday language schools, my first language was Ukrainian, almost everyone in village spoke the language. etc. Yet, the Holodomor of 1932-1933 Ukraine is part of my story. It has shaped my identity. This series entitled the faces of FAMINE: THE CHILDREN tries to reconcile something which cannot be reconciled. It points to the good and evil in mankind. It poses questions which seem to have no rational answer. Why does history continue to repeat itself.
A reader Ukrainian language reader published in Canada serves as the canvas for this story. The bright, saturated images, over run with text in the Ukrainian language - a means of instilling language, culture and pride in ones heritage- embrace the faces of starving children. Children who were victims of Stalin's decisions to murder not only individuals, but also a culture and a nation. An act labelled by Raphael Lemkin, the Polish-Jewish lawyer who invented the word ‘genocide as precisely that.
In unitying two realities which have never met and which behave more like ghosts I have carefully selected one of the most translucent Japanese hand-made papers for the canvas. Once printed with archival pigment inks they are then bathed in eggs and wine which I have filled with precious hand ground pigments drawn from the Byzantine traditional technique of iconography.
The series points to the vignettes that became common place: homes being raided and all the food taken, children starving, animals taking on the forms of skeletal scuplutres no longer resembling their true form, chidlren waiting for their absent schoolmate - one who was canibalized by his family that has gone mad from starvation. These are the orchre stained photos which haunt the internet. By encapsulating the collaged photography-based works with the artistic language of Byzantium I work to bring unity and healing to those who know no rest.