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A Letter from Donetsk: Art Amidst the Roses


#1

Last year, I was taking a taxi into Kyiv’s downtown from Borispol Airport. About midway through the trip, I noticed a large black jeep coming straight towards my taxi on the same side of the road. It was not that it was traveling fast—no, it was more likely driving quite slowly. But it was going in the opposite direction on our side of the highway, which is divided by a high wall stretching almost the entire way from Kyiv to the airport. It was not entirely clear how this rudderless Flying Dutchman had gotten there.

“It’s goodfellas from Donetsk,” said the driver as he dodged the jeep.

This had been my only association with Donetsk prior to my arrival in this lovely city.

Donetsk is graced by rather broad, green boulevards and vast expanses in which one senses something elusively Soviet. In the city’s buildings, this Sovietness is far less elusive: it seemed to me that they had been built mainly in the fifties, and some of them feature elegant, sleek-bodied columns, that secondary sexual characteristic of an administrative branch with cultural ambitions. However, there is also something mirror-like in the city à la Dubai—a characteristic of an administrative branch with financial ambitions.

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