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Ukraine Rising

We spoke to one of the artists in Ukraine Rising, the photographer Artem Humilevskyi, about shared identity, Ukrainian culture and how his work has changed since the start of the invasion.

Ukraine Rising

visual culture

In the last decade, Ukraine has emerged as a hotbed of contemporary creativity, showcasing impressive contributions in fields such as interior design, fashion, architecture, photography, and art. Emerging Ukrainian creatives blend traditional crafts, materials, and aesthetics with a modern, cosmopolitan outlook.

Ukraine Rising is a book that celebrates the best of contemporary Ukrainian culture through compelling photography and insightful writing. It showcases the work of top creatives and features expert essays that offer a glimpse into the vibrant people, projects, and innovation the country has to offer. This collaboration with Ukrainian publisher Lucia Bondar is a testament to the creative spirit and energy of Ukrainians and a promise for a better future.

We spoke to one of the artists in Ukraine Rising, the photographer Artem Humilevskyi, about shared identity, Ukrainian culture and how his work has changed since the start of the invasion.

How do you see the state of Ukrainian arts and culture right now?

I would separate the notions of Ukrainian culture and art. Ukrainian art is now at a very high level and a huge number of beautiful, free and brave authors are very active. At the same time, culture as an institution in the country is still at a very weak level.

There’s a quote from you in the book where you state you ‘feel a strong sense of belonging and a deep connection to tradition’. How does your work connect with Ukrainian traditions? And what attracts you to featuring Ukraine heavily in your work?

In my works, especially in the series Roots, there are many hidden symbols and elements of ethnic culture and traditions, which are very often understood only by the bearers of our culture, for example in the work Apple Tree in which I am depicted with my son. The apple in Ukrainian culture is a symbol of ancestral knowledge of wisdom, where I am like a big apple tree and my son, being small, and not yet having his own apples, collects mine instead.

(Photo: Artem Humilevskyi, Ukraine Rising)

Ukrainians have a strong sense of shared identity, often more so than other nations - why do you think this is so?

It is difficult to answer this question in my project. I am looking for an answer to this and I have not found it yet. I know for sure that Ukrainian is not a blood heritage - it is my own choice.

Would you hope to achieve something with your work? If so, what?

With my works I want to draw attention to Ukrainian culture, to our freedom, to our courage, to our openness and honesty, to show what it is to be Ukrainian as a feeling. Also in some works I draw attention to the events that occurred during the full-scale invasion by Russia, such as the blackout, the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam or the events in Bucha and Irpin.

Has there been an impact - positive or negative - on the output or themes of Ukrainian art and culture since the breakout of the war? Do you feel your own work has changed since?

Yes, of course I think that the war in Ukraine has affected all world art, and especially Ukrainian art and mine personally. I live in Ukraine and every day I experience these events and so it affects my art too, of course.

A lot of great artists, designers and photographers are featured in the book, from musicians to architects to painters and more. What do you hope people will take away from Ukraine Rising?

I would like people to take out of the book a love for Ukraine and our culture.

(Product shot: Ukraine Rising)

Discover the richness of contemporary creative culture from Ukraine with the best in interior design, architecture, art, photography, and fashion. Order Ukraine Rising now.