Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the curators of the Ukrainian pavilion and artist Pavlo Makov released the following statement:
Dear friends, colleagues and art community.
The curators of the pavilion as well as the artist Pavlo Makov have received many incoming inquiries from the press and colleagues. We would like to address some of the inquiries on our behalf and clarify the situation.
The following does not represent the position and intentions of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, but a personal stand of the team behind the pavilion.
Ukraine has been invaded. The Russian Federation attacked a peaceful independent nation of Ukraine. Our lives, the lives of our beloved ones as well as everything we stand for—peace, freedom, democracy, culture—have been endangered.
Our team is scattered all around Ukraine: Kharkiv, Kyiv and Lviv. We also have a team member outside of Ukraine.
At the moment this statement has been published, we are not in immediate danger, but the situation is critical and changes every minute. Presently, we are not able to continue working on the project of the pavilion due to the danger to our lives.
All the international flights from and to Ukraine are canceled. Traveling around the country is risky.
We are determined to represent Ukraine at the 59th Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, but not everything depends on us. If the situation changes, and it is safe to continue our work and travel, we will be in Venice. We can not confirm yet that our project will be completed, but we can promise that we will do everything possible to save unique artwork produced by Pavlo Makov and our big team specially for the upcoming biennial during the past 5 months, and to represent Ukraine in the international contemporary art scene the way it deserves to be represented.
We call for the international artistic community to use all our impact in order to stop the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Guns may hurt our bodies, but culture changes our minds. This war is a clash of civilizations—a free and civilized world is attacked by the barbarian and aggressive one. If we continue being passive observers of the situation, we will lose everything we work for and all the heritage of our predecessors—art, love, freedom of expression and the ability to create.
Stand with Ukraine in this challenging time.