Decolonization and Disentanglement in Ukrainian Art

In this text focused on how postcolonial and decolonial processes are reflected in contemporary Ukrainian culture, art historian Svitlana Biedarieva examines methods of decolonizing Ukrainian cultural discourse through the lens of works by contemporary Ukrainian artists—specifically those addressing complex aspects of identity conflicts actualized by Russia’s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine.

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Screening Program: Notes from the Ground

The program showcases moving image works by contemporary artists from Ukraine. Created between the Maidan revolution, which was followed by Crimean annexation and occupation of Donbas in 2014—and the full-scale Russian invasion launched on February 24 of this year—the works in the program take the viewer through the country’s urgencies and contradictions, the streets and fringes of its cities, and the experiences of its inhabitants.

Memories of Chagga Country: Sam Ntiro

By way of Men Taking Banana Beer to Bride by Night (1956), a painting featured in our “One Work, Many Voices” series, which focuses on individual artworks chosen from MoMA’s collection, art historian Gabriella Nugent highlights the role of memory in Ntiro’s practice. She argues that these memories are a product of distance and thus complicate the frameworks of art history.

Ojeikere: Fleeting and Captured Moments

In 1970, Johnson Donatus Aihumekeokhai Ojeikere, otherwise known as J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere (Nigerian, 1930–2014), made Fro Fro, the point of departure of this short text. Storyteller and lens-based artist Jumoke Sanwo reads this image, produced during Nigeria’s nationalist drive and considers Ojeikere’s subjects and their unapologetic defiance.