Terugblik op Living Water van Anna Sydorenko

Living Water was een fototentoonstelling van de Oekraïense kunstenaar Anna Sydorenko in WG Kunst. De expo bestond ondermeer uit foto’s van collega-kunstenaars uit 15 verschillende landen en een publicatie. 

Mirjam spreekt

Tekst uitgesproken op de opening

First of all, I want to thank the M4 residence in Tetterode and the WG Kunst gallery for the invitation, for your support of Ukrainian artists, and for making this important project possible. We really appreciate that.

Today l’m honored to present here a special Ukrainian artist and curator, Anna Sidorenko, and her project “Water of Life”.

After the start of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Anna was forced to leave the country and got under the protection of the Netherlands. She could not find the strength and desire to continue her creative work for a long time. She felt devastated, uprooted, and far from her home and work, her family and friends, and her usual way of life. After some time, she called me and said – “Now I feel that I am ready, I want to resume working, I want to do a project”. Of course, I was very pleased to hear that.

Then she started calling and writing to her friends and acquaintances, scattered all over the world, with a request to send her photographs of water from the place where they live now. Suddenly, more and more people were replying to her. Now, it is a collection of more than 300 photographs of water.

Why water?

Being divided into oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, and channels – water remains a single living organism on the planet. Water knows no borders, no countries, and no wars. What can we see in these pictures of water? We can see people who take pictures of it. They are separated by geographic, politica!, and mental boundaries, we are all separated by the war. But we all were and remain human beings. In fact, we see portraits of these people, their moods, and their reflections in this living water.

Anna talks about the impact of the war on the whole world, regardless of people’s residence or stay, nationalities or beliefs. As a matter of fact, any war is a crime against humanity. Right now it is happening in the geographic center of Europe. We are all witnesses of this catastrophe, the artist says, we must show and record these testimonies.

The second, very personal part of the exhibition shows the cities of Ukraine, important for the artist where she was born, studied, formed as a person, and worked as an artist and curator. Her childhood memories and all the bright moments of her life are connected with these places. Now they are destroyed by Russian missiles that fall from the sky every day. Demonstrating these photographs, the artist states this fact. Her art speaks, reveals, and makes it visible without any statements. Anna shows the truth as it is. She says it’s her diary. Visualization of fears and experiences as a therapy, as an attempt to comprehend what defines common sense.

War cannot be justified.

Everything behind these photos is not difficult to imagine. Lives are destroyed, childhood is stolen, people in the occupation are deprived of their rights and freedom, and the earth is trampled down by dirty soldiers’ boots.

Only water does not know death, it is always alive, it is always associateci with life, and it gives hope.

Thank you