The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)

  back    
"UKRAINE 1933: A COOKBOOK"
The food they were forced to eat in order to survive the famine
  

By E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
www.ArtUkraine.com  Information Service (ARTUIS)
Washington, D. C., November 7, 2003

South Bound Brook, New Jersey.......The Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Constantine, Metropolitan, South Bound Brook, New Jersey has just opened a special, unique exhibition of over 80 lithographs and published a special exhibition catalog in remembrance of the millions of Ukrainians who perished during the Great Famine of Ukraine in 1932-1933.

The exhibition features the stunning, shocking, and very moving works by Ukrainian graphic artist Mykola Bondarenko, which depict the various items the genocidal famine victims were forced to eat and the recipes they used to prepare the foods in order to try to survive and not die from the forced starvation.

The exhibition is being held in the Library and Consistory Rotunda and will be open during the month of November. This is an exhibition one does not want to miss.

(Click on images to enlarge them)

An outstanding exhibition catalog entitled, "Ukraine 1933: A Cookbook, Linocuts by Mykola Bondarenko," has just been published and features over 80 linocuts. Only 1,000 copies have been printed.

Archbishop Antony said most of the copies of the catalog will likely end up in Ukraine to aide in public education but this is a publication you also do not want to miss. Information on how to order copies of the striking catalog can be found at the end of this article.

Complete information about the special exhibition and catalog follows:

UKRAINE 1933: A COOKBOOK
Linocuts by graphic artist Mykola Bondarenko, Uspensky, Ukraine
Printed by the Historical and Educational Complex of the
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
South Bound Brook, New Jersey, Fall, 2003

"In remembrance of the millions of Ukrainians who perished during the Great Famine of Ukraine in 1932-1933"

"The series of linocuts presented in this publication is a part of the Famine and Memorial Exhibit of the Museum in Memory of His Holiness Patriarch Mstyslav 1"

Introduction by Oleksander Kapitonenko
Simferopol, Ukraine

"From early childhood, Mykola Myhkhaylovych (Bondarenko) loved to listen to the old people reminiscing about village life in the olden days. Having learned about the famine, he attempted to reproduce it graphically, but was not satisfied with the few sketches he made. The artist wished to tell about this tragedy in his own, different way.

"He considered the fact, that although entire families and entire villages were annihilated by the famine, some individuals managed to survive. What was it that helped them defy death by hunger while next to them their relatives and friends perished? He went around questioning the old-timers who told him about their unbelievable ''menu". Thus he found the answer to his question; he decided to portray not the emaciated peasants, but rather the "food" which they were forced to ingest in order to survive.

"At first he tried to paint several more common weeds which were consumed by the starving people, raw or prepared. His sketchbooks contain drawings from nature of cough-grass, clover, hemp, sweet-flag, burdock, rush (cane), nettle, thistles, lime tree and acacia buds, from which fifty engravings have been made.

"Almost each engraving depicts a window, the cross-like frame of which symbolizes the heavy cross, carried by those condemned to death. Every windowpane symbolized the hope to survive the famine. On such a background are depicted weeds and some other plants consumed by the starving people during those horrible times. On the right windowpanes is the "recipe" for preparing this ersatz food.

"Several of the engravings show the self-made tools, which helped the peasants to chop, grind, squeeze, and otherwise prepare the weeds. To own such tools meant risking one's life. The most touching and alarming for the viewer are the depictions of domestic animals--a cat, or a dog, fleeing to who knows where, so that they would not be caught and eaten; carcasses of dead cows or horses, which the starved populace did not hesitate to eat; and the panicked eyes of fledging birds in a nest, which is about to be robbed by the hand of a starving person.

"Noticeable in these engravings is the absence of any accusations of those who wrote the scenario of the famine, and of those who only too eagerly helped in his criminal action. Only the sickles and hammers on the iron rods with which the village activists probed everywhere, looking for hidden grain of the peasants, point to the cause of the famine. And, also, the blood on the knife blade reminds the viewer that we are dealing with a horrible crime."

 

"Hooks and crooks of different length were used by the activists to look for buried grain and other valuables in the garden and indoors, under the floor, by the stove. They poked and looked, and looked and looked........"

GRAPHIC ARTIST MYKOLA BONDARENKO

Mykola Mykhaylovych Bondarenko was born in 1949 in the village of Dmytrivka in the Sumy region [Ukraine]. His professional studies were completed in 1972 at the Kharkiv School of Art. After graduating, the artist moved to the village of Uspenky where he taught drawing and worked as an interior designer.

Currently, the artist works as a graphic designer, with his primary media being the linocut, both black and white and color. The artist's works have been exhibited in Ukraine, Russia, Poland and Slovakia and he has taken part in joint exhibits in Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Bulgaria and Latvia.

The themes of Bondarenko's works are varied: portraits, landscapes, illustrations to literary works. Cycles of works include "Ukraine 1933: A Cookbook", "Slovo o Polku Ihorevim" (Epic of Ihor's Campaign), "Shevchenkiana", "Khata Moya, Bila Khata" (My House, White House). The artist is currently working on a series entitled "Znyshchenyj Khram" (The Ruined Temple) and is continuing work on his portrait series of the citizens of the Sumy region.

 

"The blood on the knife blade...we are dealing with a horrible crime"

 

"Pussy-willow buds were dried, put through a sieve, mixed with water and flour and baked into flat-cakes"

 

"Maple leaves were dried on the stove or in the sun, crushed, put through a sieve, mixed with water into dough from which flat-cakes were made. Bark was dried, crushed, put through a sieve, mixed with flour and water and made into flat-cakes"

 

"Dogs were caught. The barking of dogs could rarely be heard in the villages--they were all consumed"

 

"Children delirious from hunger, would catch and eat all sorts of bugs, chafers, butterflies, moths, etc. Caterpillars were gathered and eaten with leaves"

 

"Grater. Chief implement to make flour. Use to grate grain, chaff, bark, dried leaves. This instrument was to be found in every homestead." [Such implements had to be taken apart and carefully hidden after each use so that the activists would not find them]

 

"Oil Mill II: The entire family would sit on the upper bar, and press oil. This procedure was technically simpler, and would not be heard by the village activists who walked the streets at night and listened and spied on everything that was going on. After the procedure was finished, the oil mill would be taken apart and the parts hidden in several different places, so that the activists would not find them."

 

[Soviets under the direction of Stalin wage battle against the kulaks, the family farmers. They take their land, their houses, their livestock and their food, all of it] [Editor, ArtUkraine.com]

 

[The Soviet waged a hostile battle against Ukraine for the land, for the hearts, souls and lives of the common people. They destroyed everything in the name of progress, industrialization, collectivism and communism] [Editor, ArtUkraine.com]

 

Ukrainian Artist Mykola Bondarenko explains his linocut art works about what people in Ukraine were forced to eat during the holodomor (famine terror, death by famine) in 1932-1933 to members of the Public Committee for the Commemoration of the Victims of the Holodomor in Kyiv on Tuesday, December 2, 2003.

One of his art works about the hooks and crooks used by the Soviet activists to look for buried grain and other foods is shown on the table.

To the right of Mykola Bondarenko is Volodymyr Rak, Ukrainian Center of Folk Culture "Ivan Honchar Museum" and Luba Stasiv, Association of Famines Researchers in Ukraine.

 

Ukrainian Artist Mykola Bondarenko explains his art works about what people in Ukraine were forced to eat during the holodomor (famine terror, death by famine) in 1932-1933 to members of the Public Committee for the Commemoration of the Victims of the Holodomor in Kyiv on Tuesday, December 2, 2003.

 

Ukrainian Artist Mykola Bondarenko and E. Morgan Williams, a member of the Public Committee for the Commemoration of the Victims of the Holodomor and organizer of the private holodomor art collection, met in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 to discuss Mr. Bondarenko's extensive research and artworks about the genocidal famine in Ukraine during the early 1930's.

Mr. Bondarenko also met with the Public Committee and showed them a set of the 85 art works he has created about the holodomor in Ukraine during 1932-1933. The Public Committee plans to exhibit the works by Mr. Bondarenko in Ukraine during 2004.

Mr. Bondarenko's holodomor linocut artworks have been published in a new book, "Ukraine 1933: A Cookbook," by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, South Bound Brook, New Jersey.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Limited number of copies of the exhibition catalog "Ukraine 1933: A Cookbook, Linocuts by Mykola Bondarenko," are available for a $15.00 contribution to the holodomor publication fund from ArtUkraine.com. Contact us at:  artukraine@voliacable.com.


Photos by the   www.ArtUkraine.com  Information Service (ARTUIS), Kyiv, Ukraine
This material was researched, composed and posted by the   www.ArtUkraine.com  Information Service (ARTUIS) with permission from the Consistory of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Constantine, Metropolitan, Archbishop Antony, South Bound Brook, NJ. Material can only be used with permission from the Consistory.
FOR PERSONAL AND ACADEMIC USE ONLY
 
 

  back