Until 22 May, Edinburgh Central Library will be displaying an exhibition of photographs called “Postcards from Ukraine”. This project aims to record and demonstrate the damage caused to the Ukrainian culture because of the bombings and shelling of buildings during the war that Russia initiated against Ukraine on 24 February 2022.
Russian troops have destroyed many of Ukraine’s historical, architectural and archaeological monuments. Museums, memorials, university buildings, cinemas, churches, temples, cathedrals, TV towers and monuments have all been destroyed. In the process, Ukraine’s cultural heritage, which dates back thousands of years, is being destroyed.
The 23 images on display show buildings before and after they were destroyed.
The project was developed by the Ukrainian Institute with the support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and in cooperation with the creative agency Green Penguin Media. You can find out more about the project and also see the images online at the Ukraine Institute, Postcards from Ukraine.
Central Library is proud to be hosting a photo exhibition presenting children’s photos of the aftermath of the war in Ukraine. The images were taken with disposable film cameras and capture their everyday lives.
At the end of February 2022, two young Brand Managers from Kyiv – Dmytro Zubkov and Artem Skorokhodko – found themselves sheltering from Russian bombs in the basement of their newly opened pizzeria. Surrounded by strangers, also looking for refuge, two dogs and some friends, they decided to turn their restaurant into a charity kitchen for those in need. Their premises quickly turned into a full-blown volunteer centre and the reach of their help has spread to the nearby villages.
Having befriended local children from recently liberated villages, the idea for a photo project, later called Behind Blue Eyes, came naturally – alongside toys and colouring books, local kids were offered disposable cameras, which they were free to use, as they please, to capture their everyday lives and show the rest of the world what growing up during wartime is like. The portraits of friends and pictures of flowers and pets comfortably coexist with images of destroyed houses, burnt military equipment and rocket shells. Each of the shots, at times illuminated or defocused, tells a story. Artem explains:
“It seems that when you look at these photos, you understand that children perceive everything differently. There is no tragedy there, they cope with it. It forces me to rethink my vision and attitude toward some things. It is what I would exactly like to transmit.”
This exhibition includes the works by nine children from Lukashivka, a village near the city of Chernihiv, which survived World War II, but was all but destroyed in 2022 as a result of Russian occupation. The photos present children’s untouched candid accounts of life after liberation.
Councillor Amy McNeese-Mechan says,
“I am so thrilled that Edinburgh’s fantastic library service have been able to play host to the exhibition of photographs taken by Ukrainian children, entitled ‘War Through the Eyes of Children’. I would encourage everyone to come and see this free show.
Although it is a difficult subject and some of the children’s own comments and observations are truly heartbreaking, what emerges from it is a sense of the resilience of these young people and of the universal nature of childhood – with concerns, dreams and wishes revolving around favourite pets, their siblings, playing with friends, and the annoyance of having school homework and chores around the house!”
This must-see exhibition is available to view at Central Library until Friday 16 December.