Opening the exhibition by Vlada Ralko Lviv Diary at the Window Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria

Published: 23.06.2022

WINDOW GALLERY
VLADA RALKO, LVIV DIARY
06/29 – 07/13/2022

Shcherbenko Art Centre, by invitation of the Czech Centre in Sofia, launches a new exhibition at Window Gallery. The second project presents works by artist Vlada Ralko from the new series “Lviv Diary”. Since the beginning of the full-scale war, the artist has started to work on a new series, which is a response to the daily horrors of warfare documented on paper.

The language has a political nature. As well, language makes human to be a human. Only a human being who is speaking can resist the aggressor’s sadistic pressure. Ukraine and the rest of the world are facing an evil that has not yet been identified in a right way and therefore has not yet been punished. Following the Soviet Union’s tools, Russia is regularly raping its vocabulary. The invaders’ violent actions, as well as the language they use, are almost pornographic––they have been replaced by propaganda slogans that legitimize the evil genocide of the Ukrainians. A Soviet person is not supposed to have his or her own words. In the beginning people are punished for this, but later Soviet speech becomes seductive, because speaking in somebody else’s words helps people to silence their voices of conscience. Speaking in their own language is the artists’ task. I create these drawings during the war, because I don’t want to be speechless“, says the artist Vlada Ralko.

The war for the independence of the Ukrainian people is now in its fourth month, with up to 1,000 militaries killed or wounded every day in particularly hot spots on the front lines. The news from the frontline seems like a nightmare, and the focus of attention turns to the daily routine.

I would like to offer you a glimpse of the horror of this war through the drawings of the “Lviv Diary” by Vlada Ralko. You can feel everything: our despair, our loss of faith in humanity and our comprehension of the immense cruelty of despots. It’s a piercing and heartfelt story about the serious injuries we would not possibly heal. These is the reflection of what we have been through since the first day the shells landed on our cities. These are emotions that have been turned from the inside out through pain and screaming. Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused enormous violence and traumas, and there is no end in sight to it. Do not accustom to our pain. Don’t adapt to the news about the number of our deaths. This war is becoming a trial for destruction. After all, the lives of our strongest warriors and civilians are at stake as we fight for the right to exist. Do not turn away from us, it gives us hope for survival“, adds curator of the project Maryna Shcherbenko.

From the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine,  the Czech Centre Sofia has expressed support for the cultural community and all the people of Ukraine. On May 12, the banner with words of support for the Ukrainian people was ripped down by vandals from the Centre’s window, which was the catalyst for the idea of opening a new ‘Window Gallery’. The Czech Centre’s team invited Kyiv’s Shcherbenko Art Centre to collaborate on a new project called ‘Window Gallery’. We will place the posters on Centre’s windows, made together by contemporary Ukrainian artists, and the exhibitions will be changed every two weeks.

Vlada Ralko
Born in 1969 in Kyiv. In 1987, she graduated from the T. G. Shevchenko Republican Art School, in 1994 – the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture (workshop of Prof. V. Shatalin). Works with painting, graphics, sculpture, installation. Member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine since 1994. In 2017, she was recognized as one of the hundred most influential cultural figures in Ukraine, according to HB. Author of research texts, poetry, essays and critical articles about art and its connection with philosophy and politics. Lives and works in Kyiv.

Shcherbenko Art Centre
Created by Ukrainian curator Maryna Shcherbenko. The aim of the centre is to create opportunities for dialogue between the art world and a broad audience. Shcherbenko Art Centre arranges the exhibitions and works as a venue for lectures, panel discussions, workshops with leading masters of contemporary art in Ukraine and other countries.

Czech Centre in Sofia
The Czech Centre in Sofia is the oldest Czech culture institution abroad and is also one of the longest-running foreign cultural organizations in Bulgaria. Its history dates back to 1949, where from the very beginning it is located at the same address – Rakovski 100. The Czech Centres are a contributory organization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. They are an integral part of Czech foreign policy and a key cultural diplomacy tool. They operate within the public diplomacy domain, whose mission is to promote and support the good reputation of the Czech Republic abroad and to strengthen cultural relations between countries.

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