PANEL: “Ukrainian arts & culture in decolonial perspectives" – Sonderveranstaltung


Sunday, July 24th, 16-18 h in Hardenbergstr. 33, room 110

Panel discussion at UdK Rundgang with Lia Dostlieva and Kathrin Peters (in presence), Polina Baitsym and Kateryna Iakovlenko (online),
Moderation: Maryna Makarenko (in presence), Dariia Kuzmych (online).
No registration needed.

The panel will be publicly streamed here:

Since the Russian invasion to the sovereign country and annexation of Crimea in 2014, the understanding of Ukraine’s postcolonial entanglement to Russia has changed. In contrast to Western postcolonial thought, the questions of Russian imperialism and colonialism are not worked through and therefore lack the language to be addressed. Its colonial tactics include, among others, manipulating knowledge and public perception of the suppressed regions, rewriting history, erasure of its culture and identity, and constructing the concept of an enemy. The latter also fits in tendencies of the right-wing groups in the EU which are also connected to Russian media with its manipulations and disinformation. It is necessary to unlearn and deconstruct Ukrainian history and knowledge from imperialistic and colonial narratives of an aggressor that uses history as a weapon to justify the full-scale military invasion.

The UdK Berlin stands with Ukraine. At the same time, we realize, there is lack of regional competence and in depth historical knowledge about Russian dominance and suppression of Ukrainian art and culture during centuries, and how it reflects on the perception of the ongoing war and its prehistory by international societies. Initiated by alumnae, the UdK Berlin offers a space for dialogue between three experts on Ukrainian art and culture and the professor from UdK Berlin to talk on current perspectives on this panel at UdK Rundgang.

They will talk on colonial strategies that are common to Western and Russian imperialism: the homogenization of experiences, normalization of terror and enduring historic violence.

The main focus of the panel discussion is how to decolonise ourselves from deeply embedded imperialistic narratives through art, culture and language as methods in the process of decolonisation. And how to develop the language which can be used for speaking about invisible history including various voices to understand how to oppose imperial and colonial tactics. 


Polina Baitsym is an art historian and curator specialising in socialist realism in the Ukrainian visual arts. She is currently a PhD candidate in comparative history at Central European University, Budapest/Vienna, and a curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art NGO (MOCA) Library, Kyiv, Ukraine.

Lia Dostlieva, (b. 1984, Donetsk, Ukraine) artist, cultural anthropologist, essayist. Primary areas of her research include the issues of trauma, postmemory, commemorative practices, and agency and visibility of vulnerable groups. Selected exhibitions: “I still feel sorry when I throw away food — Grandma used to tell me stories about the Holodomor”, Odesa National Art Museum, Odesa, Ukraine (2021), “Inscriptions of Identity. Belonging. Difference. Gesture.”, Biuro Wystaw, Warsaw, Poland (2021), “Emplotment”, Ludwig Museum, Budapest, Hungary (2022), “Difficult Pasts. Connected Worlds”, National Gallery of Art, Vilnius, Lithuania (2022).

Kateryna Iakovlenko is a Luhansk-born Ukrainian visual art researcher and writer. She is ADB in New Media and Communication (focused on the heroic narrative of the Donbas in Soviet and post-Soviet media and art). She worked as a reporter and a deputy web editor of “The Day Newspaper” (2012-14), as a curator and a program manager of the Donbas Studies Research Project at Izolyatsia (2014-15), and as a researcher and a curator of public programs at PinchukArtCentre (2016-21). She is also co-curator of the Secondary Archive project. Her current research touches upon the role of art and culture during political transformation and war. Currently she is a Visiting Fellow at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, Vienna.

Kathrin Peters is Professor of Visual Culture Studies at the Berlin University of the Arts and was co-speaker of the DFG Research Training Group "The Knowledge of the Arts", also at the Berlin University of the Arts. She is founding member and member of the advisory board of the Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft (journal for media studies). She publishes on gender and media, contemporary film/art, and design history.

Dariia Kuzmych (1991, Kyiv) — Ukrainian artist. Currently lives and works in Kyiv, Berlin and Vienna. After finishing her bachelor in painting at the Fine Art Academy in Kyiv, she completed the master and postgraduate program at the Berlin University of Arts in the Art and Media department. She is working in various techniques, such as drawing, animation, textile, installations and text. A central point that connects these multimedia practices is that they are capturing times of transition in a society and how it impacts an individual. In her current projects, she is engaged with various aspects of time perception and trauma.

Maryna Makarenko, born in Ukraine, lives and works in Berlin. She graduated with BA at the Institute of Journalism in Kyiv, BA in Visual Communication, Diploma and Postgraduate in Art and Media at the Berlin University of the Arts. Her works span a variety of formats, from films and video installations to collective performances and workshops, addressing the phenomena of transient states: processes and bodies that deviate beyond normativity. She is a guest lecturer at the Berlin University of the Arts.