Chernihiv: Life in the Siege (February – March 2022)
The exhibition is about the damages to cultural heritage objects and cultural institutions that happened in Chernihiv between February until April 2022.
The Malta Further and Higher Education Authority welcomed the Photo Exhibition in Malta between 18-19 April 2023. The project ambassador Ms Olena Rosstalna presented the exhibition by the Galangan Art Museum, Chernihiv, Ukraine presenting photography by Valentyn Bobyr and Vladyslav Savenok. The project ‘Chernihiv:Life in the Siege’ was led by Galagan Art Museum director Yurii Tkach.
When Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Chernihiv residents were among the first to be affected. This ancient Kyiv Russ city on the Desna River, close to the Belarusian and Russian borders, plays a key role in Kyiv’s defense as it blocks access to the capital from the east and north-east. Wanting to take Kyiv, the Russians could not bypass Chernihiv. There is no other way in this direction. For 38 days, Russian soldiers were unable to break through the defenses around the city. They shelled the city, tried to cause a humanitarian catastrophe in the city, but they were unable to overcome the resistance of the Ukrainians. The civilian population that remained in the city constantly helped each other and the army. Those who left the city organized humanitarian aids from various regions of Ukraine and from abroad.
The exhibition is a photographic report, a chronicle record from the first months of the war in Chernihiv. Currently, in the city, which is slowly coming back to life, losses are counted, reaching billions of dollars. It is initially estimated that the reconstruction of the city and its outskirts may take up to 50 years.
Valentyn Bobyr and Vladyslav Savenok documented of Russian aggression in their hometown from the first days.
Due to the unique architectural monuments in this part of Europe, the history of which dates back to the times of Kyiv Russ, before the war, domestic and foreign tourists willingly visited Chernihiv, which had almost 300,000 inhabitants. Medieval sacral buildings have been preserved in the city. As a result of the Russian shelling, among others were destroyed schools, libraries, Polytechnic University, and ski base of the Ukrainian Olympic team in biathlon. On March 6, 2022, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky named Chernihiv the title of a hero city.
Vladyslav Savenok – journalist, writer, photojournalist
Was born in 1959 in the village Liski in Chernihiv region. He graduated the Department of Journalism in Kiev State Taras Shevchenko University. He works as a journalist of local media in Chernihiv. He prepared reports on the life of the Chernihiv region for the Ukrainian BBC service, Ukrainian TV channels “Vikna”, TK “Gravis”, ICTV, “Novy Kanal”, “Street TV”, STB, “1+1”. In 1989, he co-founded T. Shevchenko Regional Association of the Ukrainian Language. In 1992, he was a co-founder of the Chernihiv Literary Union and the secretary of the “Literatural Chernihiv” magazine. Vladyslav is the winner of the “Journalist of the Year 2000” award granted by Chernihiv Media Club.
Valentyn Bobyr – photographer, scientist, volunteer
Was born in 1983 in Chernihiv, graduated from Chernihiv Taras Shevchenko State Pedagogical University, where he got a degree in Physics. In parallel with his studies and work at the Regional State Archives, he developed his passion for photography. His photos illustrate reports in newspapers, on Internet portals, and are also used in books. He has collaborated with Chernihiv Tourist Information Center. After Russia’s armed attack on Ukraine, he professionally documented the destruction of his hometown.
Activities in Malta
On 17th April, Ms Olena Rosstalna visited the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority and presented the exhibition to the MFHEA team. A documentary which was created within the project was shared, showing four stories about Chernihiv during active war actions from last year.
On 18th – 19th April, the photo exhibition was exhibited during the Eurostudent Researchers Forum. Ms Olena Rosstalna met the Eurostudent researchers community. Participants from 20 countries joined the Eurostudent Researchers Forum in Malta.