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Ukraine: SOS for priceless cultural treasures

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Buildings, monuments, great works of art, and even valuable digital archives of institutions and libraries in Ukraine are at the mercy of Russian missiles

Dozens of historic buildings and priceless works of art are being destroyed by Russian fire in Ukraine. In Kharkov, many landmarks, including the city's huge Freedom Square, home to the so-called State Industry Palace, an impressive constructivist building built in 1928 and currently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. cruise The neighboring buildings of the State Opera and Ballet Theater and its Philharmonic were reduced to rubble.

The museum in Ivankif, a city northwest of Kiev, has also been reduced to ashes, while the Church of the Ascension in the village of Bobrik, near Kyiv, has been severely damaged.

In a dreaded position is one of the monuments – flagships of Ukrainian culture, the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Kyiv, dating back to the 11th century, as it is only a four minute walk from the building of the Security Service of Ukraine, the seat of the counter-terrorism and counterintelligence services and one of the most likely targets of the Russian military. At the same time, there are dozens of monuments in Odessa, Kyiv and Chernivtsi that may be in the middle of fires and are threatened with total destruction.

Not only the monuments and museums of Ukraine are in danger, but also the websites and digital archives of its institutions and libraries, in the fight for the rescue of which voluntary organizations have fallen.

One such initiative is the Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO), which employs volunteers day and night to back up and preserve data threatened by war.

“We must not forget that the Internet is made up of natural objects. “There are servers that are in the real world and need power, cooling and maintenance,” said the leaders of the initiative. “Networking depends on physical cables that must be connected in order to work. “Anything from a power outage to the destruction of a server in a bombed-out building can put sites offline, temporarily or permanently.”

Since March 1, SUCHO has created digital archives for more than 1,500 websites, digital exhibits, open access publications and other online resources from Ukrainian cultural organizations, thanks to more than 1,000 volunteers – librarians, archivists and other categories of business professionals. which were mobilized through social media, and in a short period of time received grants from leading organizations specializing in the humanities.

Victims of this war include major international exhibitions, major works of art , but also years of relationships that had been built between the great museums through the exchange of exhibits in the context of emblematic periodical exhibitions.

A typical example is the National Gallery in London, which announced that the loan of Raphael's painting “The Holy Family” (c. 1506-7), from the St. Petersburg State Hermitage Museum, for the exhibition – a tribute to the great Renaissance painter, canceled.

In the meantime, the Russian museum has already recalled several works it had lent to two museums in Milan, while four other Russian museums have made similar moves and also demanded the return of 23 works currently on display in exhibitions in Italy. France, meanwhile, has announced it will withdraw 15 works of art from an exhibition at the Moscow Kremlin museums that will open this month, followed by Britain, Austria and Spain.

At the same time, the art world has been activated to support Ukrainian refugees, artists and more. In Britain, for example, an auction has been organized by the British literary community to raise money for Ukrainian refugees, which in one week made a turnover of 47,890 euros. In this original auction, interested parties can claim meals with popular authors, the opportunity to “baptize” the heroes of their next books and obtain signed first editions. Nearly 350 lotteries are waiting for the friends of literature on the website https://airauctioneer.com/book-aid-for-ukraine until March 20.

The big meeting of art galleries in Dubai is also in favor of Ukraine, as its organizers announced that they will sell 25% of the tickets at the fair that ended a few days ago with the participation of 100 galleries for the victims. The French government, for its part, has announced that it is setting up a 1 million euro support fund for refugee Ukrainian artists and art professionals who were forced to flee the country after the Russian invasion.

Ukraine also stands by Officials at the Venice Biennale, the world's most important art event, say the country will be present at the 59th Art Festival, despite the fact that Ukrainian artist Pavlo Makov, whose work was to be exhibited at the exhibition – a wall-mounted 78 copper hoppers, from which gushing water -, he said that he and the curators Lizaveta German, Myra Lanko and Boris Filonenko were forced to stop the preparations due to the war.

Source: politis.com.cy

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