Exhibition that will be open for a month will feature materials from the collection of Ukraine’s Museum of Books and Book Printing, Department of Manuscripts and Textual Criticism, library at Taras Shevchenko Institute of Literature (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine), National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Arts, as well as from archives of the poet’s son Dmytro Stus and archives of Vasyl Ovsiienko. These manuscripts by Vasyl Stus, including those written in camps, manuscripts with poetry, and materials from family archives were provided by the poet’s son.
Those who will come to the opening of the exhibition will be able to listen to the recording of Vasyl Stus, singing of the Echo choir led by Taras Shevchenko Prize laureate Leopold Yashchenko, songs written on his lyrics by the Honored Artist of Ukraine Taras Kompanichenko, who set Stus’s poetry to music. “Taras Kompanichenko, besides singing Stus’s poetry, which he set to music, also gave a few items for the exhibition, including several paintings by Opanas Zalyvakha – the only artist, who was not afraid to illustrate creative work of Vasyl Stus. He illustrated Stus’s poetry collection Palimpsesty,” director of the Museum of Books and Book Printing Valentyna BOCHKOVSKA told The Day.
Dmytro PALII, curator of the exhibition, deputy director for academic work at the Museum of Books and Book Printing:
“Visitors will see the manuscripts written by Vasyl Stus. Some of them were written when he was still not imprisoned. These are handmade notebooks and notepads. There are also presented manuscripts written during his detention in the camp, including a manuscript written together with Viacheslav Chornovil. During the first imprisonment of Vasyl Stus they were together in one camp. They contain court sentences for Stus and Chornovil written in a very tiny handwriting on a wisp of paper, apparently it was made to be secretly transferred on the outside. Courts were closed and it was important to publish these sentences somewhere. They were published abroad.
“The exhibition also features early newspaper publications of Stus’s poems in Donetsk factory publications. There is also a selection of poems published in Kyiv-based Literary Newspaper. Preface to this selection of poems was written by Andrii Malyshko. He wrote about Stus as a ‘great hope.’
“Visitors will also be able to track the history of book publications of Vasyl Stus’s poetry. And it is really interesting because during the lifetime of the poet not a single book with his poems was published since he was banned. His poems were published abroad. The first collection was published in 1970 in Brussels, and then other books were published in Munich and in the United States.
“Vasyl Ovsiienko, who was in a camp in the village of Kuchino in Ural together with Stus (he died there) provided for the exhibition the prisoner outfit and keys from the cells in the camp, where political prisoners from Ukraine were kept. These are very interesting exhibits.
“There will also be presented works by Opanas Zalyvakha – famous artist of the Sixtiers, who first dared to illustrate works by Stus. He also suffered persecution for this. Such little book – rarity of Stus’s poetry with illustrations by Zalyvakha, that was published in Ivano-Frankivsk in 1990, is presented in our exhibition. We received it from Taras Kompanichenko.”