What does art do? Art tells stories, or simply expresses an aesthetic truth or feeling. Art challenges and provokes, it questions. Art heals hearts and souls, and transforms thinking. Art makes the familiar unfamiliar and the unknown known. Art reminds you who you are. Art inspires. It resonates. But most of all, art is an exchange, a participatory process between viewers and makers.
Postcards from Maidan founders understood this well when they started this project!
By Postcards from Maidan
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Postcards from Maidan is an art initiative that helps facilitate the psychological rehabilitation and physical recovery of patients. Artists visit the wounded and use drawings as a storytelling mechanism of Maidan. The wounded are later presented with the drawings.
The initiative also produces postcards by artists and designers, dedicated to the events on Maidan. These postcards are free to download and can be easily distributed in every corner of the world.
Postcards from Maidan was founded by Kadygrob_Taylor Platform for Contemporary Art, an independent non-profit organisation focused on the development of Kyiv cultural scene.
Oleksandr Tonskykh is a 56-year old construction worker from Poltava. He was wounded [gunshot wound went through his lung] by a sniper on Instytutska Street in Kyiv on February 20, 2014.
“There are about ten of us by the advertising signage light box. And then they started falling down. I was wounded… But it didn’t hurt, felt like a mosquito bite.
I could hear: ‘Grandpa, come to us!‘ They were burning the barricade so that the smoke would conceal everything and they could take us away. But the smoke blew in another direction. So they threw the plastic bag with everything. And I started burning [the barricade] from another side… I could hear the bullets swishing by. But you cannot hear the one that hits you. It’s unclear who these snipers were, everything was out in the open. They shot so that the metal shields were pierced through. There was a medic there [with us], a girl who was shot in the neck [Olesya]. She will be fine, right?
Please say ‘Hi’ to her from me. I was also wounded around lunchtime, about 12:00 noon. Don’t forget to draw this, I had a ‘bullet’ written here, although it is barely visible now. I cannot laugh yet.
I also want to see those Self-Defense guys who called to me: ‘Grandpa, come to us.’ ”
Artist Alevtina Kakhidze talked to Oleksandr at Kyiv City Clinical Hospital #17. As a gift, the artist drew portraits and illustrations based on the activist’s story.
One of her works became a postcard, whose goal is to help find the Maidan Self-Defense troops who saved the wounded Oleksandr.
Here’s more information about the initiative:
Postcards from Maidan is an art initiative that helps bring support through truthful images of Ukrainian protests in different regions of the country, and also tells the stories of people who suffered during events on Maidan this winter in Kyiv.
The project consists of two elements:
#postcards from maidan
The Postcards Project contains a series of cards based on works of contemporary artists. Artists who participated in protests on Maidan create works reflecting on the events and as a message to fellow citizens. These cards may serve as support and a means to bring the spirit of protest to one’s relatives and friends in any part of Ukraine or the world. They are distributed on Maidan and available to everyone for free download in a format suitable for printing.
#stories from maidan
In The Stories Project, contemporary artists visit hospitals, talk to people [protesters/activists] and work on an artistic embodiment of their stories from Maidan. Activists receive these works as gifts by which to remember the events. This project is documented; the stories may later be used by various media. Through social networks, with the help of journalists, volunteers and the project’s website, organizers of this project help to recover lost contacts and enable protesters to learn about each other.
Some of the postcard images: