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SEA Foundation

28 Jul 2022

SEA Foundation

SEA Foundation. Project: From The Battlefield

From the Battlefield: initiated by Maria Vtorushina, curator-in-residence at The SEA Foundation, brought together Ukrainian and Dutch artists to create joint artworks, performances, and actions in galleries and public spaces in Tilburg. The multidisciplinary programme focused on the strength of making small decisions of dignity, freedom and sacrifice in the circumstances of war, and aimed to cultivate knowledge about Ukrainian culture and history.

The SEA Foundation

The SEA Foundation is an artist-led contemporary art network that aims to create awareness for contemporary art and build cultural resilience. They act as a catalyst in the working lives of artists and are driven by the visual arts in all their activities. The organisation crosses boundaries between disciplines and prioritises the context and idea over the medium.

Maria Vtorushina

Maria Vtorushina, curator and researcher of queer culture, arrived in the Netherlands by the invitation of SEA Foundation, the Tilburg-based institution that supported Ukrainian artists at risk since the start of Russian full-scale invasion. Maria’s curatorial projects are based on analysing notions, concepts and practices of freedom and her main field of research are the history of queer art and the fight for human rights in Ukraine. In her ongoing research, Maria aims to reveal and articulate voices and practices of queer people from Ukraine, censored or repressed by different government regimes starting from the beginning of the twentieth century. Maria is a co-founder and curator of Set Foundation. From 2016 to 2022, Maria was leading Kyiv Art Week as its artistic director, a festival that welcomed more than 30 000 professionals and visitors each year. Kyiv Art Week was an international platform that established connections and forged relationships between culture actors from Ukraine and all around the world.

The artists

The artists participating in the project were: Alevtina Kakhidze (UA), Nick J. Swarth (NL), Sasha Kurmaz (UA), Katya Buchatska (UA), Kostyantyn Doroshenko (UA), Evelien van der Peijl (NL), Yulia Protsyshyn (UA), Chantal Rens (NL), Leo Trotsenko (UA), Tamara Turliun (UA), Andrei Liashcuk (UA), Roos Vogels (NL), Chikako Watanabe (JP/NL). To better understand the current situation in Ukraine, 13 artists participating in the project were prompted to engage in direct dialogue. They worked in groups, made joint statements through conversations and co-creation, and produced performances, site-specific installations, book publishing projects, and lectures. The project also included a screening of Homewards, a film directed by Nariman Aliev, telling about the fate of a Crimean Tatar family, separated by the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Art and solidarity

“Art in times of war,” tells us Maria, “helps to keep the memory and identity of those who resist aggression and protect their homeland. Also art is a tool of cultural diplomacy, a strong voice that articulates the values of the community in the world. Ukrainian art is always connected with activism. We seek not only peace, but justice. We also demand justice through art.”

For Maria Vtorushina, a culture of solidarity means the vision of a future society joined by culture, knowledge, freedom, and curiosity. “My struggle for a utopian vision of the European future for Ukraine has started alongside the thousands of people during the Revolution Of Dignity in winter 2013-2014. After the start of the full-scale invasion in 2022 I became a small drop in the powerful wave that unified international cultural institutions in resistance to violence and misinformation. The Culture Of Solidarity Foundation, and the culture of solidarity as practice played significant roles in this institutional consolidation. Incredible solidarity from the EU citizens proved that even facing inner challenges, Europe is ready to mobilize and act at once, being a wise and strong community.”

The project’s compendium, with texts and documentation, will be published in autumn and sent to art institutions in Europe and the USA, spreading the message of solidarity and resistance even further.

For more information on the project, download the report.

Website by HOAX Amsterdam