Showing the road to freedom

Zoryana Keske and Vaughn Lewis sit outside of Stay Gallery in Downey, on Jan. 24, to support their event of Maidan. Ukraine. Road to Freedom. “This is for the Ukrainian people,” Keske said, “who right now are fighting for their freedom.”

Esther Rodriguez, Parents & Teachers Section Editor

On Jan. 24, the Stay Gallery opened their newest exhibit, Maidan: A Road to Freedom. that features photos and posters from various Ukraine artists and photographers such as Matviy Vaisberg, Igor Gaidai, Maxim Dondyuk, and Olexander Glyadeylov.


The showing displayed photos capturing student gatherings turned to violent riots from 2013 in Maidan Square in Kyiv, Ukraine. These riots happened after President Viktor Yanukovych betrayed his promise to sign a trade agreement with Europe.


Erica Montes de Oca, a junior at Warren High School, was shocked at the violence erupting in other places in the world and visited the exhibit to learn more about this rebellion.


“It’s crazy to see all these riots, the crowd standing up, and soldiers dying,” Montes said. “They’re all just standing up for their rights and want freedom.”


Daria Chaikovsky, President of the Ukrainian Art Center, feels the purpose of this exhibit is to show Americans what is going on in Ukraine while sharing Ukrainian culture.


“The goal is to bring the art and culture to the community,” Chaikovsky said. “We want the world to know about this. Ukrainians know about this, but many Americans don’t. They hear it on the news, but not the whole story. They [Ukrainians] are fighting for their rights, for less corruption.”


The gallery was also serving Maidan food and drinks such as mush, bread with various dips and cheeses, and kvas, a fermented drink. It also featured a performance from Ukrainian musician Serhiy Fomenko, known as FOMA. While people admired the various photographs and artifacts, a documentary called Dancing Diplomats played.


This documentary compared the Yatran Dance Company, a group of dancers used as propaganda to secretly inform the public of the corrupt regime, and the Voloshky Ukrainian dance ensemble, a Philadelphia based dance company made to preserve Ukrainian culture in children. It shows the freedom the dancers have in America and how art is a form of sharing culture and beliefs.


Olga Starow, secretary of the Ukrainian Art Center, thinks art is a global language used to communicate people’s culture.


“Through Ukrainian art, Americans can come to know Ukraine and get to know what Ukraine and Ukrainians are like,” Starow said. “We want to show it through art. Through our song, we show our culture.”


Maidan: Road to Freedom was featured at the Stay Gallery until Jan. 28, but is a traveling art exhibit presented by the Ukrainian Art Center, curated by Serhiy Fomenko.