Yevhenii Samborskyi


Documenting Ukraine Grants

Hard to Explain

The project unravels complex contemporary circumstances surrounding the war in Ukraine and the irreversible change in the lives of its citizens caused by the criminal Russian full-scale invasion.
It consists of a series of canvases depicting compositions made up of everyday scenes from the life of Ukrainians during the war. Each picture tells a separate story: architecture and landscapes that change due to the impact of missiles; the loss of cultural heritage destroyed or stolen by the Russian army; the continuation of the decommunization processes leading to the overthrow of monuments; the loss of housing; Ukrainian citizens’ forced relocation and adaptation attempts. The project includes not only what is happening directly in Ukraine but also touches on the topic of displaced persons abroad, because since the beginning of 2022, about 15 million people have left the country, leaving their home for an indefinite period or losing it forever.
The rectangular images in the paintings are somewhat reminiscent of comics, but if in comics a whole story is developed with the help of a sequence of frames, then in this case, these are individual torn frames, like the most important flashes that freeze on the canvas, as if in our memory. Here, each separate element is a thing of potential from which a separate story can develop. The chaotic arrangement of the elements refers to the destruction after the explosions, and the empty background of the canvas to the emptiness and unknown that lies ahead of us.
The project appeals first of all to a wide audience and supports and helps Ukrainians to overcome the difficulties they have faced, and in a poetic way talks about experiences that are often not highlighted. It develops the idea of a broad and comprehensive view of today's Ukrainian society, providing an opportunity to look at the current situation in a multifaceted way.
It is precisely because of the large number of confused and superimposed images that the story becomes quite difficult, and sometimes impossible. The very complexity of the multi-level, confusing, “Kafkaesque" narrative becomes the object of research in this project. 

Grant on behalf of: