sea — music — poetry — performance — installation — and wind

Myroslava Ganiushkina, Olia Mykhailiuk
the curators

The project started in August 2015 with a concert in the central square of Berdyansk on an open stage just by the sea and continued in October-November with six weeks of music performances, exhibitions and lectures. The city that was traditionally considered as a resort, in 2014 turned up close to the combat activities and needed new cultural contacts for the sake of mutual understanding within the community and self-identification. On the other hand, it unfairly remained a mysterious place on the map for the majority in Ukraine. In the ENTERtheEAST project, the ArtPole agency united curators, artists, and scientists in a joint study of our identity.

The August part of the project focused on exploring the traditional art of the region. In Prymosrka square, there played music by the North Azovian Greeks of the family band Bahdasary (Sartana/ Mariupol), ancient melodies of the Crimean Roma and the Crimean Tatars of the ensemble Dzhezair (Simferopol), as well as Ashkenazi Jewish music by Pushkin Klezmer Band. At Isaak Brodsky Berdyansk Art Museum, which became the location and a permanent partner of the project, Kyiv researcher Oleksandr Rybalko gave a lecture about the North Azovian Greeks, which also encouraged other ethnic minorities, such as Bulgarians and Germans, Greeks and Roma, Karaites, Russians, Poles, and Ukrainians populating the North Azov region.

In October-November, continuing to explore the traditional cultural patterns, the project shifted toward the modern forms of their apprehension. The first step was the project “Steppe” by Lviv musicians Uliana Horbachevska and Volodymyr Bedzvin — a combination of archaic songs and author’s texts with improvisation. The next was “Apricots of Donbas” by Liubov Yakymcuk (text, voice) and Mark Tokar (contrabass).

A lecture about performance by Kyiv artist Myroslav Vayda that lasted several hours thanks to the activity of the audience became an invitation to the exhibition “The Internal Territories”. Alongside with him, the exhibition included contributions by Carlotta Brunetti (Munich) and Vitalii Kokhan (Kharkiv) with thematic installations and Olia Mykhailiuk who presented the performance _just_went_away. The visual program was continued by music which again combined archaic and topical music by the Bulgarian ethnographic ensemble “Vaysal” and the folk choir “Verbychenka” from the villages of the Berdyansk region, the trio “Mavigiz” from Istanbul and Hych Orchestra from Lviv.

The photo exhibition “The Coastline” by Vadym Ilkov (Kyiv) and Serhii Kravchenko (Minsk) became, in a sense, the postscript of the project. Both authors spent a week in Berdyansk within the framework of a creative residency from ArtPole. Vadym Ilkov expressed his North Azov region in black and white stories captured on film. Serhii Kravchenko ventured beyond photos and offered a mix of pictures and observation notes.

ENTERtheEAST was actively discussed by Berdyansk residents encouraging them to act on their own. One of the examples of the interaction was a mural by Andrii Hurenko from the project :::path::: Its creation was accompanied by spontaneous street discussions which continued during the roundtable “Kins—Strangers” in the South of Ukraine to which the artists and the curators of the ENTERtheEAST project were invited by Berdyansk State Pedagogical University. A cultural map of Berdyansk was created afterwards in collaboration with the university.

Supported by the Ukraine Confidence Building Initiative (UCBI) funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).