Amidst Cries from the Rubble: Art of Loss and Resilience from Ukraine

Amidst Cries from the Rubble: Art of Loss and Resilience from Ukraine

June 23, 2024 12:00 am
April 20, 2025 12:00 am
Museum of International Folk Art

Amidst Cries from the Rubble delves into the heart of Ukraine’s struggle. Surrounded by the weight and destruction of war, art practices and expressions of cultural identity emerge as  beacons of resilience and hope. This selection of captivating works highlights the profound ways in which Ukrainians confront the realities of loss and devastation, transforming the remnants of conflict into powerful symbols of strength and healing.

Through large-scale photographs and evocative objects collected from the war-torn landscapes and communities of Ukraine, this exhibition follows the journey of  a nation grappling with daily trauma of death and destruction. Appropriating tools of war—shell casings, helmets, ammunition boxes—Ukrainians breathe new life into the remnants of conflict, infusing it with the spirit of human creativity.At the heart of this exhibition lies the resilience of the Ukrainian people. From children to spouses, from parents to injured soldiers, and from artists to civilians, each contributor offers a glimpse into their personal stories and triumphs. Through their art, they navigate the complex terrain of grief and loss, crafting a narrative of hope and remembrance that resonates deeply with Ukrainian cultural perspectives and folk art practices.For many, art is not merely an expression, but a lifeline—a means of making sense of the chaos happening around them. The creative process helps to ground and heal, as exemplified in the works produced by children in art therapy, or by the spouse separated from their partner fighting at the front. These art practices allow the creators to channel their pain, reframing their experiences into acts of beauty and resilience. Each stroke of the brush, each sculpture wrought from the debris of conflict, serves as a testament to the human capacity to find solace and strength in the face of despair.

Presented in the Gallery of Conscience, the exhibition will be multi-media, incorporating audio-visual components to provide a fully immersive experience. The curatorial team includes Laura J Mueller, PhD, MOIFA’s Deputy Director, Sasha Samuels, designer and artist, and Nina Medvinskaya, freelance curator, along with project manager, Lillia McEnaney. Associated programming during the exhibition will include film series, musical performances, lectures, and artist demonstrations.

Captions: Glory to the Sunflower (Slava soniakhu),2023. Serhii Polubotko, b. 1962. Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine/Brooklyn, New York. Brass ammunition casings, steel, wood. Courtesy of the artist

From the series Memory of the Heart (Pamyat sertsia),2022–2023. Volodymyr Balyberdin, b. 1954. Kyiv, Ukraine. Ammunition casings, agate, carnelian, mother of pearl, lapis lazuli, obsidian, jade. Courtesy of the artist