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Traveling Ukrainian art exhibition ‘Women at War’ to make first stop at Eastern

Published on August 16, 2022

Traveling Ukrainian art exhibition ‘Women at War’ to make first stop at Eastern

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"Letter to a Turtledove" by Dana Kavelina

Eastern Connecticut State University is the first stop of a traveling art exhibition titled “Women at War,” showcasing a leading selection of women artists working in Ukraine. Presented in the university’s Art Gallery, the exhibition runs from Sept. 12 – Oct. 15 with an opening reception on Sept. 15 at 4 p.m.

“Women at War” is curated by Monika Fabijanska and presented by the prestigious Fridman Gallery in New York City in partnership with Voloshyn Gallery in Kyiv, Ukraine. The contemporary exhibition provides a context for the current war via art of varied media. Several works in the exhibition were made following Russia’s full-scale invasion on Feb. 24; others were made following the 2014 annexation of Crimea.

“War is central to history and history has been written (and painted) by men,” said Fabijanska. “This exhibition provides a platform for female narrators of history and examines the perception of war as gendered. Women are generally absent from historical accounts of war, but violating a woman is seen as a violation of land and nation… But is war indeed gendered?”

Fabijanska highlighted the many women who have joined the Ukrainian armed forces in the current war, while acknowledging the atrocities that Ukrainians of all genders have recently endured. “Many artists in this exhibition struggle with the notion of victimhood,” she said, “and pose the question in what ways women have agency during war.”
According to Fabijanska, “Women at War” also serves as an introduction to Ukrainian and other Eastern European styles of feminism, which differ from popular feminism of the West. “Finally, ‘Women at War’ will contribute to a conversation about how national identity is tied to the perception of women’s role in society,” she said.

“There are parallels between the fight for Ukraine’s independence and the fight for women’s equality in other countries,” said Fabijanska. “They stem from the paradoxes of the Soviet Union, where early modernist, anti-nationalist and feminist promises remained but a fig leaf of propaganda in the brutal and misogynist patriarchal empire it became.”

The Art Gallery will host several events related to “Women at War” throughout the duration of the exhibition:

  • Sept. 14 at 3 p.m. in the Art Gallery: Katija Kolcio will present “Resilience in Uncertain Times - Ukraine and the world,” a multi-media presentation based on Somatic Methods of Resilience, a program she developed in Ukraine over the past eight years. Nadia Tarnawsky, Ukrainian-American singer of traditional Ukrainian folk music, will join Kolcio's presentation.
  • Sept. 15 at 3 and 4 p.m. in the Art Gallery: An artist talk with Lesya Khomenko and Monika Fabijanska, curator of "Women at War," will preceed the opening reception, which starts at 4 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 at 3 p.m. on Zoom: Elaine Gurian, former deputy director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will speak about the threat to Ukrainian cultural heritage due to the Russian invasion.
  • Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. in the Art Gallery: Aniko Szabo ’05, employment specialist with the Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), and Katherine Lawder, volunteer program specialist, will speak about IRIS’s efforts to assist Ukrainian and other refugees.
  • Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. in the Art Gallery:Artist-veteran Jacob Cullers will present a lecture and slide presentation of his artwork, which reflects the realities of war and its aftermath. Cullers received his MFA from the Glasgow Art School and served in the military.
  • Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. in the Art Gallery: Maiyah Gamble-River ’12, assistant director of student affairs at the School Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, will moderate a conversation with an invited scholar.
  • Oct. 13 at 9:30 a.m. in the Art Gallery: Jen Beck, English lecturer, and Steve Lane, co-founder of the Quiet Corner Refugee Resettlement (QCRR) group, will speak in the Art Gallery on how the QCRR as a co-sponsor with Integrated Refugee and Immigration Services (IRIS) has resettled Syrian and Afghan refugees in the Willimantic area.   

All events and admission to the gallery are free and open to the public. The gallery is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon-4 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from noon-7 p.m.; Saturday from 11 a.m-4 p.m.; and by appointment.

For more information, visit or contact the gallery at (860) 465-4659 or .

Written by Michael Rouleau