Daria and Mykola Zhuravel

UA Flag

The new project by Mykola Zhuravel and Daria Tischenko-Zhuravel continues the inspiring and profound message of their earlier American flag series, this time turning to the blue-and-yellow color scheme of the Ukrainian flag for their exploration. This new project develops from a photographic image of human hands, painted in the national colors of Ukraine and ornamentally joined together, representing the way people are being united by patriotic idea, which gives strength and hope for a bright future to the Ukrainian nation.

For the second time this century, Ukraine has been on the front pages of global news media. The mass protests that began in November 2013 came to be known as the Euromaidan, a name drawn from the Kyiv’s main square, Maidan Nezalezhnosti, the principal site of the protests, and the proclaimed goal of European integration and support of democratic values associated with the idea of a united Europe. These protests eventually led to the collapse of the corrupt and repressive government then in power. However, the hope associated with the momentum of the transformation became mixed with the profound trauma of unprecedented suffering and loss of life during the later stage of the Euromaidan, when, for the first time in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history, political clashes led to loss of life. The trauma intensified shortly thereafter with the Russian annexation of Crimea, and intensified further in a portion of Ukraine’s east during the mixture of civil war and an escalating Russian intervention.

In the face of these challenges, citizens of Ukraine sought to affirm and strengthen their togetherness in hope for a better future, reaching across differences that often separated them earlier, be they differences between regions of the country, language preference, religion, gender, or many others. Out of struggle and trauma, a new civic Ukrainian identity is being shaped, both emphatically patriotic and embracing global ties, both affirming personal dignity and building a stronger community. The Ukrainian flag artwork series by Mykola Zhuravel and Daria Tischenko-Zhuravel is a moving, thought-provoking original reflection on this ongoing process whose global relevance cannot be overestimated.