Exhibition of French artist and writer Sebastien Boke called “The Faceless” opened in Kyiv Musem of Hetmanship. All the paintings are the portraits of real people who gave their lives fighting with “peaceful” atom after the Chornobyl tragedy. Despite the skill of the artist, you will not find a single perfect portrait at the exhibition: some images are blurred, others are vague, and still others consist of “debris.” Those paintings are a requiem for the dead and, at the same time, a challenge for our consciousness and indifference.
“I once tried to find online information about the liquidators of the Chornobyl disaster. All I was able to find was photos of a very poor quality taken for documents, blurred images, group photos, and practically no information about them,” said Sebastien Boke. “It is very important for me to speak about those people who gave their lives to save us all from the consequences of the Chornobyl disaster. After all, Chornobyl is not only the problem of Ukrainian people, it is a problem common for all human mankind.”
In 2009 Boke at the invitation of French colleagues on the program within the project of Art Residence came to Ukraine and lived in the village of Volodarka located on the border of the exclusion zone. It was there that he saw firsthand the situation in the Chornobyl area, met with those people who stayed in contaminated areas. All of that has formed the artist’s own vision of the problem.
“Sebastien said that once in the exclusion zone he saw an old lady collecting crab apples near her house. At that time he was nearby wearing a special protection costume with a dosimeter. Then he stopped and thought who of them two is crazy?” said Mykhailo Maliuk, director of the Neopalyma Kupyna Publishing House. “Another time, he came to a school near the exclusion zone with his works and asked the school students to finish the paintings with what they thought was missing there.”
In his work dedicated to the Chornobyl disaster Boke used various materials and techniques: graphics, paints, varnish, etc. The work on the project lasted for about a year.
The second part of the project is the collection of poems by Sebastien Boke Irradiation with the Future, which could be called an emotional diary of the author. Boke expressed in it his impressions from what he saw and experienced while living in the exclusion zone. The book has been published in Ukrainian and French. Boke noted that it is only the first step in a large-scale literary and art project, which will be implemented in the near future. Within the framework of this project together with the Neopalyma Kupyna Publishing House it is planned to publish an anthology of Ukrainian authors in French and to organize cross-art residences for Ukrainian authors to go to France and for French authors to come to Ukraine.