Support program 2023

Small grants competition to support the cultural sector in Ukraine. The international organization CEC ArtsLink in cooperation with the Platform for interdisciplinary practice Open Place offered financial support to representatives of the independent cultural sector in Ukraine for projects in the field of visual arts. The support program, in response to the restrictions caused by russia’s full-scale invasion in Ukraine, was aimed at creating opportunities for new artistic works and research, developing skills and strengthening professional capacity.

The program supported individual applicants and creative teams with research and projects in the field of visual arts that comprehend processes in art and society, initiate and develop new ideas, formats, and approaches in culture. Projects based on a critical stance, questioning the boundaries of art, promoting social engagement, and interdisciplinary projects were welcomed.

12 projects were supported based on jury’s decision (15 artists and researchers a total). We received 153 applications in response to the open call.

Applicants were free to determine the requested amount of support based on the project’s needs. For ease of communication and reporting, we have developed a package of documents, including a memorandum of cooperation and two simple reporting forms.

Activities within the supported projects: development of a concept for a center for contemporary culture; opening a safe art space; creation of a stained glass workshop; residency to explore the local area; research on the activities of internally displaced artists and changes in the Lviv artistic environment after February 24, 2022; research on the practices of Ukrainian artists during the winter blackouts of 2022; research on the practices of participation during the war; a text on the history of colonization through the private stories of one family members; a book about natural environments that emerge on the sites of former industrial sites, a publication on strategies for overcoming dumbness through the practice of women’s writing; a photo series documenting the processes of war.

Within the competition 2023 the following artists, researchers, and collectives were supported: Olena Afanasieva; Yana Kononova; Mykhailo Kulishov; Oleksandra Kushchenko; Kateryna Levchenko; Larion Lozovyi; “Mizhkimnatnyi  prostir” (Denys Pankratov, Victoria Dorr); Magran Tata; Tamara Turliun; Asia Tsisar; Natasha Chychasova; Oleksandra Shchur.

Supported projects

Olena Afanasieva
art book, 2023
The project accumulated the artistic practices and reflections of Ukrainian artists that emerged during the winter blackouts in the form of the art book Blackout, which was also created during the electricity outage. The visual content of the art book is based on two black-and-white photographs found in a 1983 album bought at a flea market in Ternopil. On each page of the album, these photos were manually reproduced in ink, visualizing the awareness of the value and importance of repetitive actions and rituals as a mechanism of psychological self-balancing and recovery. The textual content of the art book ``Blackout`` includes stories of artists - painters, playwrights, architects, actors - who described their ways of surviving the blackout and their new (or renewed old) artistic practices.
Yana Kononova
photo series, 2022 — ongoing
The work on the Radiations of War series started in March 2022. On June 6, 2023, Russian forces detonated the machinery room of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station, destroying the Kakhovka Reservoir dam and subsequent ecocide—flooding downstream along the Dnieper River. To study the impact of this technogenic disaster, the author traveled to flooded areas near Kherson and researched the consequences of reduced water levels in the Kakhovka Reservoir further upstream along the Dnieper's riverside in Zaporizhzhya, Khortytsia Island, and suburbs. The photo series focuses on the spatial portrayal of war-affected milieux, contextualizing this imagery within Ukraine's industrial and geological history.
Mykhailo Kulishov
photobook, 2023
The photobook draws attention to the importance of preserving and restoring natural environments that emerge on the sites of former industrial facilities. The book contains archival photographs documenting the history and transformation of industrial and post-industrial landscapes in eastern Ukraine. The pictures illustrate the transformation of post-industrial landscapes into natural environments, demonstrating the possibilities of their restoration. The book can serve as a basis for further research and initiatives to preserve and restore natural environments in different regions of Ukraine facing similar challenges. The photographs collected in the book may become almost the only source demonstrating what industrial landscapes looked like before 2022.
Oleksandra Kushchenko
research, 2023

This is an attempt to ``capture the moment`` and record the changes in the Lviv artistic environment after February 24, 2022. The set contains the wide range of experiences from apartment exhibitions, through independent art galleries to the largest private institution in the region, Jam Factory. Hopefully the attention to relocated artists by the local media will foster empathetic connections in the artistic community and help to strengthen artists. The interviews recorded as part of the research, personal communication, and statistics collected from open sources allow us to outline the benefits of horizontal connections, illustrate the importance of mutual support within the artistic community, point out weaknesses, and think about strategies for strengthening.

Kateryna Levchenko
residency, 2023
The first project of the Kryvyi Rih Center for Contemporary Culture was a ``residence`` for actors from the fields of culture, art, business, and civil society from Kryvyi Rih. The project participants learned about the experience of institutions from other cities of Ukraine, including the Jam Factory Art Center, Izolyatsia, Lviv Municipal Art Center, atelienormalno, Teple Misto, Platform for Interdisciplinary Practice Open Place, and Lviv Radio. The project provided a place, time, and space for public dialogue to define the mission, vision, and role that might have such a center in Kryvyi Rih.
Larion Lozovyi
article, 2023
The text ``Practices of Participation Before and During the Big War`` was written based on a lecture of the same name and a study by Larion Lozovyi in the Kukhnia-Lviv volunteer community in 2023. ``Interaction with people is one of the cursed questions of contemporary art theory. It is hard to imagine a discussion that would not get bogged down in insoluble dilemmas of an ethical and aesthetic nature. Capable of having an undeniable impact, participatory art realizes it in a different way than visual art. Previously, my artistic practice was as far from participation and interaction as possible, and I could hardly imagine myself involving communities of people in it. However, with the beginning of the full-scale invasion of russia, I found myself in one of these communities. Participatory art, previously known as abstraction, has become a real factor in my (artistic) life.``
Magran Tata
art space, 2023

A safe art space that allows young artists to exhibit their works for the first time, gain experience, and sometimes even sell their first works. Formation of a sustainable community of young artists and students. We achieved most of our goals: giving the artistic community and city residents a new lease on life, rebooting the formats of events, and making them more open. We managed to unite disparate creative bubbles, serving as a platform for mutual collaborations and performances - from performance and music to poetry and literature. Each opening and event served as a kind of networking. The fundamental format is pop-up exhibitions, which allow anyone, without exception, to bring anything on the day of the event and be sure that there will be no judgment and no fear of criticism.

Tamara Turliun
residency, exhibition, 2023
The residence in Darnytsia is a way to explore the area of the ``left bank`` in Kyiv, namely the place called Darnytsia, and its surroundings. During the tour, we got acquainted with the monumental heritage of the neighborhood: houses and mosaics. For a better acquaintance, we used materials from the book by S. Shyrochin and O. Mykhailyk ``Unknown Periphery of North Left bank of Kyiv``. The residency lasted for two weeks. The first week was dedicated to introductory meetings, excursions, and planning the route for the second week. During the second week, we followed a joined route, had dinner from Gostynets, and worked on the preparation of the exhibition. The residency ended with the exhibition Bychacha Krov (Bull's Blood).
Asia Tsisar
essay, 2023
The essay tells the history of colonization through the intimate stories of one family's members. It marks a new level of social consciousness when we begin to talk about painful and uncomfortable topics in our families with our loved ones.
The essay is a part of the project ``Taking the Train to the East``, which aims to present and make visible the perspective of marginalized communities and cultures.
Natasha Chychasova
publication, 2023
The publication Silence féminin is dedicated to understanding the phenomenon of silence through the practice of women's writing. In the texts created in a dialog, the authors share their experiences, reflect on strategies for overcoming silence, and the limitations of the theoretical apparatus. Since the beginning of russia's full-scale invasion, this project has become a tool of support for the participants and a way to manifest their voices, postulating fragility and strength at the same time. The texts rethink the transformations that occurred to the authors due to the invasion that affected their perception of the phenomenon of silence and attempts to find their voice.
Oleksandra Shchur
stained glass studio, 2023
As part of the funding, a stained glass workshop was created and equipped at the Kyiv Institute of Automation. The author created and installed her first individual monumental project, a window in the technique of classical stained glass, and gifted it to the local cultural space Spaska, whose activities and values are close to her. There was a ceremony of an official ``opening of the window`` which was attended by about 80 visitors.