On 9 June 2014, the IZOLYATSIA foundation was seized by representatives of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR). The foundation evacuated its team to Kiev, where it continues to perform its mission. The offices, galleries, art spaces of IZOLYATSIA Donetsk were looted and wrecked over the course of the following months. The cultural foundation’s grounds have since been used as an armoury, military training camp, prison, and torture center. According to civilians who have been held there and later released, at least five people have been executed without trial at the site.
The purpose of this exhibition Culture and Conflict: Izolyatsia in Exile is to communicate this foundation’s story amidst the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. In many ways, the exiled IZOLYATSIA foundation represents the unheard voices of Donetsk, including the thousands of young professionals who participated in demonstrations for the unity of Ukraine, and who have now fled the city.
The exhibition features video interviews with civilians who were held by the DPR at the IZOLYATSIA site, with young people from Donetsk, and video interviews obtained by Russian reporters with the militant camp commander and other militiamen.
The exhibition will also feature a recent work by Donetsk artist Serhii Zakharov. During the conflict in Donetsk, Zakharov created a series of caricatures featuring the officials of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. He would post these images around the city under curfew as a protest. After a month of his graffiti activity, Zakharov was caught by a DPR patrol and spent a month in a DPR prison, where he was beaten severely and tortured. Serhii Zakharov will be present at a panel discussion on the opening day of the exhibition at DOX.