Ukraine: Odessa, the far right prevents an exhibition


Patrick Le Tréhondat

January 21, 2024

Since the beginning of the full-scale war, David Chichkan has provided considerable support to anti-authoritarian fighters. The image of these men and women among the soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces became the main theme of his works which were to be the subject of an exhibition “With Ribbons and Flags” at the National Art Museum of Odessa. The opening was scheduled for January 21 at 3:00 p.m. The far right quickly denounced David's works. In order to manipulate public opinion and disrupt the exhibition, far-right activists began to accuse the artist of separatism and working for Russia. And then everything happened according to a well-known scenario. Massive threats from the far right, threats of burning down the gallery, etc. This led to the cancellation of the planned exhibition. The exhibition, according to the artist, was to offer representations of "the heroes of his works who are representatives of the anarchist and anti-authoritarian socialist movements and who defend Ukraine in the ranks of the armed forces"

In a statement to the Odessa National Art Museum, the artisite of the exhibition, David Chychkan , indicated that he had seen the accusatory comments under the announcement and heard such statements about his works for about 12 years.

"I hold anti-authoritarian left-wing views . As a result, right-wing authoritarians are trying to undermine my work, and to this end they are deliberately misinterpreting my work. People have reacted in this way way because they didn't want to understand what my work is, and they didn't listen to my explanations, but preferred these false interpretations," said the artist.

According to David Chychkan , since the start of the large-scale invasion, his exhibitions took place in Kyiv , Zaporizhzhia , Kryvyi Rih and Uzhhorod . He indicated that if his exhibition in Odessa was canceled, he would hold it in Dnipro , where he was also invited.

Chychkan 's “Lost Opportunities” exhibition , inaugurated at the capital's Center for Visual Culture, was vandalized by hooded people. Some works were destroyed, others were stolen. The attack on another exhibition of the author took place on the eve of the large-scale invasion of Lviv. Last fall, a mural honoring anarchist and revolutionary Nestor Makhno appeared in Zaporizhia . One of the authors was David Chychkan.