Among 18 Ukrainian artists presented at the art exhibition “Slava Ukraini. Ukrainian Art in Times of War” (Wesel, Germany) is Oksana Chepelyk, an Artist Protection Fund Fellow in residence at Iméra, the Institute for Advanced Study of Aix-Marseille University 2023-2024. Her project “Ecocide” will be exhibited at Salava Ukraini from November 26, 2023 to January 26, 2024.
About the exhibition
Slava Ukraini or Glory to Ukraine.
Art exhibition at the City Works Water Tower Wesel, Brandstraße 44 in Wesel.
The water tower was built in 1886. In 1931/32, the conical tower received a cylindrical casing, creating the “tower within a tower.” The upper part was rebuilt in 1951 after wartime destruction. In 1979, the water tower was decommissioned, having served Wesel’s water supply for nearly 100 years. Since 1987, the tower has been a technical monument, and since 1991, it has been available as a space for rotating exhibitions.
Within the 136-year-old City Works Water Tower, special exhibition spaces for art exhibitions showcase paintings and sculptures on three floors, covering almost 150 square meters.
Despite the ongoing war, the art scene in Ukraine remains vibrant. It is essential to make this visible outside the country. Under the title “Glory to Ukraine – Art in Times of War,” the exhibition addresses the current events in Ukraine, attempting to shed light on the causes and consequences of the war.
The newly established art association “Art in the Tower Wesel” enlisted Ukrainian art historian Dr. Olha Sobkovych as curator for the exhibition. They have successfully gathered 18 contemporary positions in the City Works Water Tower, including artists who have fled Ukraine and those who remain there. Through paintings, sculptures, graphics, prints, films, and performances, the experiences of artists during the war are made visible.
This exhibition presents Ukrainian art as a response to the challenges of war. The assembled works in the water tower aim to reflect events and feelings while providing insight into Ukrainian art of the last ten years.
Each artwork has its own message, but they are all connected by the portrayal of life in war, under two intertwined perspectives: “What is passing” narrates the dramatic present, while “What is eternal” emphasizes the universal values that will prevail: love, humanity, faith, freedom, and respect. And the awareness of who you are.
Oksana Chepelyk’s Ecocide
The “Ecocide” video diptych by Oksana Chepelyk exposes the environmental and human catastrophe resulting from Russia’s destruction of the Ukrainian Kakhovka dam on June 6, 2023. This incident, one of Europe’s largest man-made disasters in recent decades, led to the mass destruction of flora and fauna, air and water pollution. Despite its significance, the ecocide in Ukraine and the undermining of the Kakhovka HPP remain largely unnoticed on the global stage. The video highlights the interconnectedness of the war in Ukraine and the ecological crisis, shaping a new ecological regime in the Anthropocene era. The ecological impact, akin to the “butterfly effect,” will persist, even reaching the Mediterranean. The video emphasizes the urgency of addressing ecocide and genocide, stressing that silence amounts to collaboration with the aggressor and has lasting ecological consequences.