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Solidarity with the Visual Culture Research Centre in Kiev, attacked by masked thugs

The website Political Critique reports that the Visual Culture Research Centre in Kiev was ransacked by a gang of masked thugs in recent days. They assaulted a security guard and destroyed the exhibition currently on view, “The Lost Opportunity” by artist and activist Davyd Chychkan, which reflects on the Maidan uprising as “a lost opportunity for Ukrainian society to accomplish a social revolution,” according to the artist. The attackers reportedly shouted “Hail Ukraine” and “Moscow’s minions” while they were in the building. The Visual Culture Research Centre in Kiev, founded in 2008, describes itself as “a platform for collaboration between academics, artists and activists.”

Political Critique is the website of Krytyka Polityczna, a Polish network of left-leaning intellectuals, artists, and institutions. In their article on the attack, they express their solidarity with the VCRC, writing that “we are ready to support the centre in Kiev in every possible way.” Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Anonymous perpetrators attacked Davyd Chychkan’s exhibition “The Lost Opportunity” organised by Visual Culture Research Centre in Kiev. More than 15 masked men stormed into the building and terrorised a security guard – beating him and spraying tear gas. They destroyed the exhibition, smashed the art pieces and demolished the walls with hammers. While some of them were intimidating the guard, others sprayed the walls with “Hail Ukraine” and “Moscow’s minions” graffiti…

For Davyd Chychkan, his political activism is inseparable from the artistic practice. As an anarchist, with his artistic works (from street art, to graphic series) he politicises the discourse of contemporary Ukrainian art, turning it into an instrument for political transformation of society…

We want to express our solidarity with our friends from Kiev. The cultural centre being run by VCRC is a place we admire and esteem. Krytyka Polityczna has been supporting and cooperating with VCRC for years. The centre was a place where Political Critique editorial team met with contributors from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, and Belarus. In 2015 VCRC was granted the Princess Margriet Award by the European Cultural Foundation. “Their commitment to nurturing a vibrant and inclusive environment involves a broader public in cultural participation and underscores the pivotal role that culture plays in the democratic development of Europe’s communities,” said Katherine Watson, ECF Director.

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