The small hall of the National Center of Folk Culture “Ivan Honchar Museum” is very crowded. It is impossible to see paintings, ceramic plates, or many-colored enamels behind the backs of the people. On this evening those who wanted to see works of Crimean-Tatar masters at the exhibit of decorative-applied arts came to the museum. This exhibit reminds us what cultural heritage can be lost as a result of annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
The exhibit is entitled “Zincir,” which is translated into Ukrainian as “rings of chain.” It is symbolical. The organizers say this is a manifestation of deep love to one’s land, an echo of pain of amazing talented people, which remains devoted to original culture. This is as well as symbol of friendship between Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians.
“Although the reason for opening the exhibit is not very positive – we all are aware of this – namely now it is very topical and important,” says Crimean Tatar Tamila Tasheva. The girl is a civic activist and one of organizers of the Crimea SOS initiative and this exhibit. “Zincir means a lot for our culture. Zincir is one of the main sacred things of religion, education, and culture. I am speaking about Bakhchysarai-based Zincirli Madrasa, which is the oldest temple of science in Europe,” she continues.
The exposition counts for nearly 100 works. These are ceramic panel pictures, pastel drawings, wall plates, carpets, batik, silver jewelry, embroidery, decorated kitchen utensils, and toys.
“All the items of the exhibit are presented not simply by masters, but by private collectors,” Tamila says, “This is very symbolical: the Crimean Tatar culture penetrates the culture codes of other nations in separate chains. There are quite many items, which means that their culture is interesting and it is in demand. That is why in this complicated time for Crimean Tatars and all of us it is especially important to show to continental Ukraine and entire world the versatile culture of the Crimean Tatars.”
The exhibit shows the works of the artists of creative union “Chatyr-Dag.” Those include ceramists Rustem Skibin, Eldar Husenov, Mamut Churlu, embroider Khatidzhe Yunusova, jeweler Aider Asanov, etc.
Rustem Skibin is one of the organizers of the Kyiv exhibit. In particular, the visitors can see his interior work Family Tree. This is an authentic Crimean-Tatar ornament, which shows symbols of family, continuation of kin, and birth of children. Rustem has a studio of his own in the Crimea and a small culture center, where not only the works of the author, but the works of other Crimean Tatar masters are gathered. These days he had to leave the Crimea. He says he’s afraid that after Russian occupation in the Crimea the culture of Crimean Tatars will again find itself on the verge of extinction: “After forced deportation in 1944, 90 percent of all material culture of Crimean Tatars was destroyed. There almost no masters left who could pass on the crafts to their descendants. In the early 1990s we had to revive the forgotten things. If we again lose part of cultural heritage, it will be partial loss of self-identity.”
The exhibit is a charity action. The admission is 15 hryvnias. This money, as well as donations, will be used for new projects connected with Crimean Tatar culture. The short-term plans of the artists include a series of exhibit across Ukraine, participation of Crimean Tatar musicians in international festival in Wroclaw (Poland) and already traditional Crimean Tatar scene in the Kraina mrii (Dreamland) Festival.
The exhibit will be open till April 14, every day except for Monday and last Tuesday of the month from 10 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. Admission fee for adults is 15 hryvnias, for children and pensioners – 3 hryvnias.