Lia Dostlieva



How do you make art about someone else’s traumatic past? What would you say to explain the victim’s experience to others, and where would you stop your story? And what would change if you yourself belong to the traumatized group whose story you are telling? Would your evidence be credible, or will it automatically be filed under the heading of “art therapy”?

As a person coming from the occupied territories in Eastern Ukraine and as an artist who works extensively with traumatic experiences, I constantly face these kinds of questions. And while I might not have a definitive answer, I believe I have found a way to speak about personal trauma and remain objective, to give voice to the victims and make them heard, to find a way to show the personal scale of mass traumatic events.

This was a Ukraine in European Dialogue Solidarity Fellowship. These fellowships are offered by invitation for notable scholars, cultural figures, and public intellectuals from Ukraine.