Following a national lockdown, on 25 January, The National Museum of the Holodomor Genocide, Kyiv will present Lesia Maruschak’s Project MARIA, hailed as the world’s most famous exhibition on the Holodomor.
Archival photographs, black and white, and colored, have long been a source of inspiration for Maruschak, who, in two- and three-dimensional works, artists’ books and film, has reimagined narratives of unwritten histories of migration, genocide and colonialization. She advocates for a more considered way of understanding the present via the past through memory. With Project MARIA, the Museum presents a selection of Maruschak’s works stemming from her artists’ book on the Holodomor, TRANSFIGURATION, that has established her reputation among major institutional collectors worldwide.
Maruschak turns to the 1932-33 famine-genocide in Soviet Ukraine, the Holodomor, as a means of visually evoking the past and exploring its resonance. The body of work takes its title from a young famine-genocide survivor Maria F., who currently resides in Canada. Inspired by archival photographs and survivor testimonies,
Maruschak works to create something new. Images are layered, marked and effaced. The men, women and children portrayed, are those who haunt the artist and through her work they are remembered and elevated. She invites viewers, “to move with and among the forms, to feel something and to create their own memories” of an event that has been mostly unwritten from history.
Textile and paper sculptures combined with film projections fill the circular space. Forced to remain in isolation during the ongoing COVID lockdown, Maruschak created a triptych of silks, entitled Communion, to enclose the altar in the center of the Museum. It comes into dynamic interaction with the films Les Animatas No. 1 and No. 2 (2020) where we see the faces of men, women and children, imprinted yet again on silk, gently flowing with the Canadian prairie winds, like fleeting souls. These apparitions captured during the day are brought into communion with their nighttime counterparts – their barely visible features gently fading, like life, while a measured, monotonous hum keeps time. Maruschak’s compositions take on a new meaning given the events we currently face.
The exhibition was commissioned by the Ukrainian World Congress.
Lesia Maruschak : Project Maria
20 November 2020 – 31 March 2021
Reopening 25 January, 2021 (unless something changes)
The National Museum of the Holodomor Genocide
Park of Eternal Glory
Lavrska St, 3, Kyiv, Ukraine, 02000
This exhibition will also evoke her latest award-winning book, MARIA available at
MARIA SPECIAL EDITION, Le Plac’Art Photo, 80+ 16 pages
MARIA, Signed and numbered, Le Plac’Art Photo, 80+ 16 pages