On October 14th, during Copenhagen’s annual Kulturnatten, Ukraine House in Denmark showcased the most impressive examples of the Ukrainian tradition of monumental mosaics. The audio-visual 3D installation "Discover Ukraine: Bits Destroyed but Undefeated" was broadcasted on the walls of the iconic building of the Danish War Museum.
Since the beginning of the Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian cultural heritage has been subject to destruction daily. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, more than 540 cultural infrastructure objects have been harmed or destroyed since the beginning of the full-scale war. Among victims of aggression, ancient churches, museum artefacts, manuscripts, libraries, and mosaic panels reflect the Ukrainian monumental art movement of the 1960s and 1980s.
"Russia's unjust war against Ukraine is primarily a war of subjugation and destruction of Ukrainian culture and identity. Cultural heritage is an integral part of our memory, and we must do everything to protect it for the sake of future generations and to be able to share it. Culture is also the most robust foundation for the growth of freedom and democracy worldwide. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to immerse the Danish and international audience in the multi-layered world of Ukrainian monumental art and draw attention to its preservation during Copenhagen’s famous Culture Night,”— comments Nataliya Popovych, co-founder and head of the board of the Ukrainian House in Denmark.
The "Discover Ukraine: Bits Destroyed" mosaic installation was first presented in Vienna in 2019. This creative digital project produced by the Ukrainian Institute and the Rock 'n' Light studio team uses images of 58 monumental mosaics from the 1960s and 70s. Unfortunately, by 2022, when the digital show was demonstrated on the facade of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich during Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, more than a third of the mosaics had been damaged, destroyed since the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine or located in the temporarily occupied territories.
“This project allows us to learn about Ukraine’s art that is being demolished by Russian bombs daily. It’s a way to keep at least a memory of a part of Ukraine’s rich heritage that the world has just started to discover alive,” — comments Tetyana Filevska, creative director of the Ukrainian Institute.
The ten-minute audiovisual work "Discover Ukraine: Bits Destroyed but Undefeated" aims to revitalise the deep-rooted tradition of mosaics in public space through digital projection. This has been made possible thanks to consistent cooperation with photographer Yevhen Nikiforov and his documentary project "Ukrainian Soviet Mosaic" (2013-2021). The installation was accompanied by the music by the Ukrainian duo Ptakh_Jung.
It is symbolic that the event took place on October 14 — the very day when Ukrainians celebrated the National Day of the State’s Defenders. "In this war with the Russian occupiers, we are fighting not only for the right to the physical existence and territorial integrity of Ukraine but also for the right to keep our culture, language, traditions, and identity. Our language, culture, and traditions are who we are. Therefore, it is possible to try to destroy us — but it is impossible to win," — says Serhiy Tanasov, lieutenant of the Ukrainian Armed forces, Ukrainian "cyborg" defender of the Donetsk airport in 2014, and deputy of the Mykolaiv city council (the same region that Denmark undertook to rebuild after the war).
Ambassador of Ukraine in Denmark Mykhailo Vydoynyk welcomed the highly important mission of the Ukraine House in Denmark, which consists, among other things, of preserving the Ukrainian community's identity. The diplomat also recalled the millions of Ukrainians who defend peace in Europe while remaining in Ukraine. "Today, our brave defenders are sacrificing their lives so that people in Copenhagen and other European cities can enjoy culture and art, go to theatres, listen to music and see fireworks only during holidays and wars — only in museums," Mykhailo Vydoynyk noted.
Among the co-organizers and partners who contributed to the representation of Ukraine at Copenhagen Culture Night 2022 are Ukraine House in Denmark, the Ukrainian Institute, the Embassy of Ukraine in Denmark, the Ministry of Culture of Denmark, the War Museum in Denmark, The Politiken Fund and the Carlsberg Group.
The Ukraine House in Denmark is a civil society organisation of Ukrainian cultural diplomacy based in Copenhagen. Its mission is to form an enduring positive influence of Ukraine on Ukrainian-Danish cooperation, security, and lasting peace in Europe.