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A joint art project and art therapy program were presented at a conference in Poland

In March, the University of Łódź hosted an international scientific conference “Between the Reality of War and the Rhetoric of Peace”. The event was held under the patronage of the Voivode of Lodz and the Rector of the University of Lodz. This conference is a part of the Polish-Ukrainian art project aimed at popularizing the works of war artists, holding exhibitions of their works abroad, and publishing books about them as a way of their adaptation in peaceful life after the victory and overcoming the consequences of PTSD.

Aneta Pavlovska, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and History of the University of Lodz, Doctor of Science, Professor, who chaired the conference, emphasized the relevance of the project and spoke about the first such experience, the organization of 7 exhibitions of photographs by Captain Serhiy Belinsky, a press officer of the 28th separate mechanized brigade named after the Knights of the Winter Campaign, a famous musician and art photographer. Two catalogs of his works were published, scientific articles were written, and a monograph on Serhiy’s work in peacetime and wartime is currently being published at the Institute of Art History of the University of Lodz.

The following report was made by Yulia Ivashko, Doctor of Architecture, Professor at the Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture, and press officer Serhiy Belinsky by phone from the Bakhmut direction.

The reports by Anastasia Urakina, a graduate student at the Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture, and Agnieszka Gralinskey-Toborek, a doctoral student and professor at the University of Lodz, were directly related to the events of the war in Ukraine.

Anastasia Urakina presented a program of psychological rehabilitation and art therapy for people affected by the war, developed jointly with the Kyiv think tank “Experts Club“. The program primarily involves group work, which will be led by professional psychologists. Classes will be held at the “Experts Club“.

Anastasia Urakina’s theses on art therapy methods were a continuation of Ms. Agnieszka Gralinskay-Toborek’s discussion on which works of war survivors can be exhibited without harming the person, and which are only part of PTSD treatment.

It is worth noting that for the first time, Polish scholars had the opportunity to ask a Ukrainian artist at war questions live. Aneta Pavlovska asked how it is possible to remain an artist in the face of danger even in war. Serhiy answered that he has been in the army since 2021, he is used to it, his camera is always with him, and it is no less important for him than an information war with the enemy.

Yulia Ivashko showed a presentation of Serhii’s photographs and spoke about future plans to expand the circle of artists at war. The same point was emphasized by the Director of the Institute of Art History, Doctor of Science, Professor Piotr Gryglewski.

There were 18 presentations aimed at highlighting the work of military artists who experienced their own experiences, and the topic of war in art was also covered. Lukasz Sadowski, PhD, from the W. Strzemiński Academy of Arts in Lodz, highlighted the evolution of propaganda in Russian military painting.

Justyna Kobylarczyk and Dominika Kusznierz-Krupa, PhDs, professors at the T. Klczyuszko University of Technology in Krakow, who organized an exhibition Old-New Town at their university, showing Ukrainian cities before and during the war, said that such projects are needed.

Andriy Dmytrenko, PhD in Engineering, Associate Professor of National University “Yuri Kondratyuk Poltava Polytechnic”, highlighted the evolution of artistic messages during the war in Ukraine.

The conference ended with the presentation of the book “And the Light in the Darkness Shines” by Serhiy Belinsky and Yulia Ivashko about the war in Ukraine, published by the Krakow-based Impuls Publishing House.

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