The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


By Daria Darewych, York University
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Holodomor 70th Anniversary Commemorative Edition
Canadian-American Slavic Studies Journal
Mr. Charles Schlacks, Jr, Publisher
Idyllwild, CA, Vol. 37, No. 3, Fall 2003, Pages 63-88


". . . they pervert our socialist reality, give a false image of the Soviet people, have no artistic or museum value and, as works created by enemies of the people should be destroyed." (Archive of the National Art Museum of Ukraine, file 7/141, 1937-1941, from the document of September 8, 1937 as quoted by Svetlana Ryabycheva, "The Spetsfond," in "The Phenomenon of the Ukrainian Avant-garde 1910-1935" [Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2001], p. 31.)

". . . But often, what I saw was much too dreadful to put on paper. My medium was too limited and my paper too weak to bear all that I saw and felt." (Leo Haas, artist-survivor, East Berlin, 1979 in Mary S. Costanza, "The Living Witness: Art in the Concentration Camps and Ghettos" [New York: The Free Press, 1982], p. x.)


Despite the fact that most of the prominent visual artists of the Ukrainian cultural renaissance of the 1920s were alive and active in 1932-1933, there are no surviving images from the famine-genocide. It appears that no raw transcripts of this tragedy of incomprehensible proportions have survived. None have come to light in the work of such renowned artists as Vasyl and Fedir Krychevsky, Mykhailo Boichuk, Vasyl Sedliar, Ivan Padalka, Lev Kramarenko, Anatol Petrytsky, Vasyl Kasian, and Vasyl Yermilov. Whether lesser-known artists left behind a record of what they witnessed remains to be investigated. In fact there has been little research and documentation of the art of the famine-genocide.

During the Second World War witnesses left numerous documentary works of art portraying the suffering, brutality, and mass murder in Hitler's concentration and death camps. Some of the art produced in Soviet concentration camps has also survived and is available to researchers. Why then are there no images of the famine-genocide of 1932-1933?

The simple answer would be that most famous artists throughout history often chose not to portray scenes of devastation, war, and death. In the case of the famine of 1932-1933 the answer is more complex and raises some interesting questions.

Did the excesses of reality exceed the power of artists to portray what they experienced? Was what they witnessed much too traumatic to render unto paper or canvas? Was the fear of reprisals so great and the terror unleashed by Stalin and his regime so overwhelmingly murderous that artists were afraid to risk their lives and the lives of their families?[1] Was the belief in Communist ideology and in building a Socialist state so blinding that many of the artists followed the dictates of the Party unquestioningly and perhaps willingly? Were images of the famine recorded and then destroyed by the artists themselves or by relatives and friends? Were they destroyed by the Soviet state as were all the monumental frescoes painted by Boichuk and his followers?

These are some of the questions that arose during my search for the art of the famine-genocide of 1932-1933. Albeit important to art history, these questions are not easily answered as they are intertwined with Soviet Communist ideology, politics, sociology, psychology, and other disciplines.

In this article I would like to suggest some of the reasons for the absence of direct documentary portrayals of the famine-genocide and to share with you some of the related images. Also I would like to introduce a few of the growing number of works of art which emerged later, especially those evocations of the famine created more recently in the diaspora and in Ukraine.

As is known, for over fifty years the Communist Party of the USSR vehemently denied that the famine-genocide of 1932-1933 had taken place and attempted to erase it from public conscious­ness. Speaking out about the famine was ruthlessly punished as an offence against the State. Therefore, there can be no doubt that fear and the urge to survive played an important role in what the artists did or did not do.

I would like to begin by referring to images of the 1921-1922 famine in Ukraine, which were exhibited in the 1920s and later reproduced in books, in order to argue that artists did not avoid the first famine because they did not feel threatened.

One of the most prominent Soviet graphic artists, Vasyl Kasian (1896-1976), while still a student at the Prague Academy of Art, created two images of the 1921-1922 famine. The first is a sepia ink drawing titled "Pieta" (ill. 1). It depicts a grieving mother with the naked, famine ravished body of a child across her knees. The title and the composition echo Michelangelo's sculpture of the same name where Mary holds the body of Christ in her lap. This relates the secular event to a religious experience.


1: Vasyl Kasian. "Pieta," 1921-1922
ink, sepia, size unknown
Leonid Vladych. "Vasyl Kasian" [Kyiv: Mystetstvo, 1978], ill. 56
(Click on image to enlarge it)

In the poster "Help the Starving" (Pomozte Hladovejicim) (ill. 2) designed for the Prague Committee helping the famine victims in Ukraine, Kasian painted a peasant mother with emaciated children in an appeal for funds. Painted in oils on board this poster was displayed at the entrance to the Stromovka Park where donations were accepted.[2]


2: Vasyl Kasian. "Help the Starving," 1921-1922
oil on board, size unknown
Leonid Vladych. "Vasyl Kasian" [Kyiv: Mystetstvo, 1978], ill. 57
(Click on image to enlarge it)

After graduation from the Prague Art Academy Kasian returned to Ukraine in 1927. Between 1931-1933 at the height of the forced collectivization and famine Kasian produced woodcuts, which exalted labor and industrialization and ignored what was happening in the countryside. In the woodcut "Bolshevik Harvest," 1934 (ill. 3), he depicted three happy corpulent figures with lush, fertile fields of grain all around them. These images contradicted the tragic events. They were Kasian's contribution to the glorification of collectivization and the demands of the Communist Party that ". . . the artistic depiction of reality must be combined with the task of ideological transformation and education of workers in the spirit of socialism."[3]


3: Vasyl Kasian. "Bolshevik Harvest," 1934
colored woodcut on paper, size unknown
(H. S. Portnov. "Vasyl Illich Kasian" [Kyiv: Derzhavne vydavnystvo obrazotvorchoho mystetstva I muzychnoii literatury UkSSR, 1962], p. 16)
(Click on image to enlarge it)

Art produced in Soviet Ukraine of the 1921-1922 famine is scarce. Sofia Nalepinska-Boichuk (1882-1937), the Polish wife of Mykhailo Boichuk and an accomplished artist and teacher, engraved a woodcut titled "Famine" (ill. 4).[4] It shows four emaciated children with swollen bellies being fed by a woman beside a railroad car. Published sources do not provide a provenance of the work, but it appears that the woodcut was first exhibited in 1927 at the Tenth Anniversary of the October Revolution Exhibition.[5] Although Nalepinska was sympathetic to the plight of starving children in 1922, there are no surviving depictions of the famine of 1932-1933 in her work, much of which was destroyed after her arrest and execution in 1937.


4: Sofia Nalepinska-Boichuk. "Famine," 1927
woodcut on paper, 33 c 25 cm.
collection of the National Art Museum of Ukraine, Kyiv
("The Phenomenon of the Ukrainian Avant-garde" [Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2001], ill. 39)
(Click on image to enlarge it)


[For more information on artist Sofia Nalepinska-Boichuk click on:]


On the basis of these works one can assume that images of famine rendered in the 1920s were permitted and reproduced because they were considered to be the result of bourgeois capitalist oppression of the people.

In my quest for images of the famine-genocide I was able to find only a few works by Kazimir Malevych rendered in response to collectivization and indirectly to famine. These works survived outside of Soviet Ukraine.

Kazimir Malevych (1878-1935), one of the great innovators of the twentieth century and the leading figure of the Russian avant-garde art, was born in Kyiv and brought up in Ukraine. From 1904 to 1926 he worked mostly in Moscow and St. Petersburg/Petrograd/Leningrad where in 1915 he launched Suprematism, the first geometric abstraction movement. After the Bolshevik Revolution, which he supported, he held numerous important positions within the official Communist art establishment. However, in 1926 as a result of art policy changes he was relieved of the directorship of the Institute of Artistic Culture. When political pressures in Russia intensified, he was given refuge in Kyiv and taught at the Kyiv Art Institute from 1928-1930, as did Vladimir Tatlin, the father of Constructivism and a fellow Ukrainian.[6]

About the time of the First Five-Year Plan and the drive to collectivization, Malevych abandoned his Suprematist compositions and returned to painting peasants. However, they were no longer the sturdy peasants of iron and sheet metal of the Cubist period of the 1910s. Often they were faceless and inert puppet-like figures alienated from their surroundings. Those without arms and hands suggest mutilation and helplessness. It has been suggested that Malevych's return to representational depictions and peasant subject matter was not only prompted by political pressure to return to figuration, but also by his sympathy for the peasants.[7] According to Dmytro Horbachov, a respected art scholar in Kyiv, Malevych visited his sister in Zhytomyr Region every summer and was very distressed by the sight of starvation.[8]

The colored pencil drawing titled "Standing Figure" (ill. 5) (or "Selianyn z khrestamy rozpiattia" [Villager with Crucifixion Crosses] according to D. Horbachov) has been dated as early as 1927 and as late as 1932-33.[9] Thematically and iconographically it is more in keeping with the later works where facial features have been omitted or are indicated by crosses.[10] Here the Orthodox cross if seen only on the face, could be read as a simplification of facial features. However, the repetition of the crosses on the hands and feet suggests a deeper message, perhaps martyrdom. The raised arms echo the Oranta images common in icons. Thus the suffering peasant with arms raised in supplication has spiritual connotations.


5: Kazimir Malevych, "Standing Figure," 1927-1933
colored pencil on paper, 36.5 x 22.5 cm.
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
"Malevich: Artist and Theoretician" [Paris: Flammarion, 1991], ill. 158
(Click on image to enlarge it)

The pencil drawing "Three Figures" (also known as "Trois personnages marques au visage par: la faucell et le marteau, la croix orthodoxe, un cercueil noir") has been called "De serp i molot, tam smert' i holod" (Where There Is the Hammer and Sickle, There Is Death and Famine), 1932-1933 (ill. 6) by D. Horbachov.[11] The latter title corresponds to popular songs of the time, known as "chastushky."[12] Facial features have been replaced by a hammer and sickle, a cross, and a coffin. This brave indictment of the regime and collectivization survived in the collection of Malevych's student, Alexandra Leporskaia in Leningrad.


6: Kazimir Malevych. "Three Figures," 1932-1933
pencil on paper, 36 x 22.5 cm.
private collection, Leningrad
Jean-Claude Marcade. "Malevitch" [Paris: Casterman, 1990], ill. 378

In the oil on canvas known as "Man Running," beg. 1930s[13] (ill. 7), Malevych departs from the static frontal peasant figures by painting a figure in motion in a flat barren landscape. Between the symbolic red and white house Malevych has suspended a sword and in front of the running man - a cross. The sword appears dipped in blood and points to a single sack, surely a reference to the brutal confiscation of all grain. The horizontal band on which the figure is running is also red as is the cross. Horbachov has called the work "Selianyn pomizh khrestom i mechem" (Villager between the Cross and the Sword) and has dated the work to 1932-1933.


7: Kazimir Malevych. "Man Running," beg. 1930s
oil on canvas, 78.5 x 65 cm.
Musee National d'Art moderne - Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
Jean-Claude Marcade. "Malevitch" [Paris: Casterman, 1990], ill. 389
(Click on image to enlarge it)


[For more information on this painting by Malevych click on:]


Jean-Claude Marcade, a French art historian, writes that "Malevych without a doubt was the only painter who showed the dramatic situation of the Russian peasants at the time of the criminal forced collectivization."[14] Indeed this appears to be the case. However, I would like to argue that this statement applies especially to Ukrainian peasants as their resistance was widespread and death toll mind-boggling.

Meanwhile in 1932 at the start of the famine the prominent artist, Mykhailo Boichuk (1882-1937), and his colleagues Vasyl Sedliar (1899-1937), Ivan Padalka (1894-1937), and Oksana Pavlenko (1896-1991) were commissioned to decorate the Chervonozavodsk Theatre in Kharkiv. The four huge murals depicted the progress and accomplishments of the First Five-Year Plan in Ukraine. Boichuk was responsible for "Harvest Festival in the Collective Farm" (ill. 8), a large fresco (5.5 x 6 m.) in the central foyer of the theatre. He was forced to make numerous revisions to his sketches to satisfy the authorities, and the work was not completed until 1935. What he painted was a departure from his previous work in terms of style and content.


8: Mykhailo Boichuk. "Detail of Harvest Festival on the Collective Farm," 1935, fresco mural
Chervonozavodsk Theatre, Kharkiv, destroyed
"Ukrainian Art Digest" [Philadelphia: Ukrainian Artists Association USA, 1968], no. 7, p. 48


[For information on some of the early 1930's artwork by Vasyl Sedliar click on:]


The end product was typical of the demands made on artists by the Communist Party to portray idealized, smiling collective farm workers celebrating the achievements of collectivization and to do so in a realistic three-dimensional manner. It was art custom tailored to hide the gruesome truth and to serve the propaganda purposes of the Soviet state. How ironic that one of the leaders of the Ukrainian artistic renaissance, a dedicated advocate of a national monumental school and the founder of what became known as the Boichukist School was required to do the regime's bidding to survive. However, even these efforts did not spare him from death.

After the arrest and execution of Padalka, Sedliar, and Boichuk on fabricated charges of membership in a counter-revolutionary terrorist organization, these frescoes, as well as all others done by the Boichukists were destroyed as the work of "enemies of the people."

As a result, it is perhaps understandable that at the time, fear, trauma and silence overwhelmed all the artists as it did the writers. But eventually, the writers, particularly those who fled Soviet Ukraine for the West, found their voices and recorded their experiences in memoirs or fiction. Why not the artists?

Vasyl Krychevsky and Mykola Nedilko, for example, were professional artists at the time of the famine, yet, they did not commit to paper their eye-witness responses as realistic visual records or transformed metaphorical experiences when they emigrated to the West, as far as I was able to determine.

Mykhailo Dmytrenko, who had worked as an assistant to Fedir Krychevsky at the Kyiv Art Institute and later was active in Canada and the USA, in an interview in 1995 recalled vividly the victims of the famine. He described an emaciated woman with a child in her lap sitting against a wall in Kharkiv, her face covered with flies. The starving child was trying to nurse despite the apparent death of the mother. Visible above them was a poster proclaiming Stalin's slogan, "Zhyt' stalo lutshe; zhyt' stalo vieselieie" (Life Became Better; Life Became Happier).[15]

Dmytrenko did not dare to record what he saw in any drawings or paintings at the time. When I interviewed him, the trauma of working under the Communist regime and his fear of retribution were still very much in evidence even though, at the time, he was 87 years old.

For the thirtieth anniversary of the Famine, in 1963, Dmytrenko painted "1933" (ill. 9). This was not the horrific image, which was etched in his mind, but a composition where he juxtaposed symbolic images: a famine victim vs. the Communist regime.


9: Mykhailo Dmytrenko. "1933," 1963
oil on canvas, size and location unknown
"Mychajlo Dmytrenko" [Detroit: Jubilee Committee, 1990], p. 92
(Click on image to enlarge it)


[Editors Note: ArtUkraine Information Service (ARTUIS) found the original of this painting in the museum at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA located in South Bound Brook, NJ. ARTUIS was there on Wednesday, December 17, 2003. It was painted in 1963 and is approximately three feet by three feet.]


Another Ukrainian artist working in the USA, Bohdan Pevny, responded to the thirtieth anniversary of the famine with the painting "The Earth" (ill. 10). It shows a dying woman clutching the black earth which had nourished her, but which had been forcibly taken away, as had all grain. Pevny had not witnessed the famine. His depiction was based on a still from Oleksander Dovzhenko's film Arsenal. Reproductions of The Earth were widely circulated as post cards.


10: Bohdan Pevny. "The Earth," 1963
oil on canvas
Art Gallery of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A., South Bound Brook, NJ (postcard)
(Click on image to enlarge it)


[For more information on this painting by Bohdan Pevny click on:]


There were responses from other artists who were not witnesses. In 1950 Yuri Kulchytsky in France created a woodcut called Famine "1933" in an expressionist manner. Yuri Solovij working in New York painted "Pièta: Homage to 1933" in the American abstract expressionist style in 1953.

Apparently in the diaspora the famine manifested itself in the work of individual artists sporadically usually with the approach of memorial anniversaries. At times it was encouraged by the Ukrainian community. As a direct result of the commemoration of the fiftieth Anniversary of the famine-genocide the Ukrainian Women's Society in Paris commissioned three Ukrainian artists Omelian Mazuryk, Volodymyr Makarenko, and Anton Solomukha to paint works dedicated to the famine. The work by Makarenko now hangs in the City Hall of the 6th Arrondissement in Paris.[16]

Ukrainian communities in Canada commissioned memorials to be erected in Edmonton and Winnipeg. The memorial monument in Edmonton was designed by Montreal/Toronto artist Ludmyla Temertey. It was inspired by her mother, who was a famine survivor. The one in Winnipeg was the work of Roman Kowal, a local sculptor, who was born in Western Ukraine. As a young man he heard of the famine from one of the survivors. His secular depiction of a mother and child squeezed between two pillars of granite stands in a prestigious location in front of Winnipeg's City Hall. [For more information on the memorial monument in Winnipeg click on:]

In Ukraine, most artists did not turn to the depictions of the famine until Ukraine's independence. In 1992 to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the famine-genocide "The Ukrainian Great Famine Art Exhibition" was held in Kyiv at the Teachers' Building (formerly the Central Rada Building at 57 Volodymyrska Street). Over one hundred artists participated.

Vasyl Perevalsky, a Kyiv artist designed the logo for the Great famine Memorial Events in 1993. This became the basis for the monument located in Mykhailivskyi Square near St. Michael of the Golden Domes Church. The design effectively combines the cross with the simplified silhouettes of the Mother of God the Protectress and Child. It was also used on a postage stamp in Ukraine and has become a popular symbol of the famine. [For more information about this artist and the monument in click on:,]

In December 2000 the "Great Tragedy and Hope of the Nation Exhibition: Through the Eyes of Ukrainian Artists" opened in Kyiv with about 500 participants. It appears that the new generations of artists with no direct ties to the famine have shown a heightened awareness and willingness to confront the catastrophic events. Amazingly the format of these large scale exhibits harks back to the big thematic shows that were obligatory during the Soviet period and in which artists participated in great numbers. The deification of the leader, the mythologizing of the revolution, and the glorification of labor have been replaced with representations of formerly forbidden historical events and condemnation of crimes of the Communist state. [For more information about the December 2000 exhibition click on:]

Of the many artists in Ukraine and in the diaspora who paid homage to the famine-genocide, I would like to single out two: Roman Romanyshyn, a Lviv artist, and Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak from Houston, Texas.

In 1990 Roman Romanyshyn (1957-) composed a triptych titled "Year 1933." All three prints are based on the events of Holy Week (Strastnyi tyzhden). In "Thursday" (subtitled Square) (ill. 11) the central figure of Christ is framed within a square format against a black square in the background. The apostles are arranged in four groups of three to form a cross around Christ.


11: Roman Romanyshyn, "Year 1933: Thursday," 1990
etching, aquatint, 35 x 34.5 cm.
private collection, Canada
(Click on image to enlarge it)

In the second and central frame "Friday" (subtitled Vertical) (ill. 12) there is a depiction of the Crucifixion with the same apostles arranged in an inverted pyramid. Judas is etched in black.


12: Roman Romanyshyn, "Year 1933: Friday," 1990
etching, aquatint, 35 x 39 cm.
private collection, Canada
(Click on image to enlarge it)

The third print titled "Saturday" (subtitled Horizontal) (ill. 13) portrays the entombed Christ with the apostles arranged around him. Judas is not only black, but has been turned upside down. The title of the triptych Year 1933 is significant because it provides the key to understanding the artist's intention of juxtaposing the suffering and death of the Son of God with the suffering and death of innocent Ukrainian victims of the famine. There is no "Sunday." Romanyshyn does not portray the Resurrection.


13: Roman Romanyshyn. "Year 1933: Saturday,"
etching, aquatint, intaglio, 35.5 x 34.5 cm.
private collection Canada (source: Daria Darewych)
(Click on image to enlarge it)

Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak (1953-), a second-generation American, had two extended working trips to Ukraine in 1991 and 1993. Upon her return she felt "a compelling need to document the horrors committed on Ukraine's people and land."[17] Two series of works, "Another Kind of Icon and Fragments," resulted. Both were dominated by themes of humanity and inhumanity, death and rebirth as seen through the prism of tragic historical events in twentieth-century Ukraine.

Several of these works on paper are evocations of the famine incorporating text and photo reproductions, which memorialize the historic events and Bodnar-Balahutrak's experiences as an artist in the post-modern tradition. According to the artist, "All the works are a personal, visceral piecing together and layering of the spiritual and human dimensions of my cultural identity."[18]

The mixed media work "Satan All Around Us, Dancing," 1991 (ill. 14) was an early attempt to come to terms with the overwhelming horrors of the famine and to represent them using painted images, text, political commentary, and symbolic color.


14: Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak. "Satan All Around Us, Dancing," 1991
oil, mm/paper, 30.5 x 41 cm
The Barrett Collection, Dallas, Texas (artist)
(Click on image to enlarge it)

By 1993 the initial raw emotions and didactic approach had given way to more universal images incorporating appropriated religious art and photocopied photographic material of the actual famine as in "Another Crucifixion" (ill. 15). Here the figure of Christ has been replaced with photocopied images of famine victims. The gold background characteristic of precious icons and sacred spaces stands in stark contrast to images of death.


15: Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak. "Another Crucifixion," 1993
gold leaf, photocopy, mm/paper, 30.5 x 41 cm.
collection of the artist (artist)
(Click on image to enlarge it)

In "Another Kind of Icon #18" (ill. 16) Bodnar-Balahutrak has appropriated the icon format but has replaced the Mother of God and Christ Child with a photocopied version of an actual starving mother and child. The incorpo­­ra­tion of traditional Christian iconography, contemporary documentary evidence and art making, the layering of imagery and meaning have been successfully synthesized to create a powerful after-image of the famine-genocide.


16: Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak. "Another Kind of Icon #18," 1996
charms, rosaries, photocopy, gesso, mm, wood, 34.5 x 27 cm.
collection of O. Bashuk Hepburn, Aylmer, Canada (artist)
(Click on image to enlarge it)

It is interesting to note that both Roman Romanyshyn, as well as Vasyl Perevalsky, in Ukraine, and Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak in America have transcended the apocalyptic subject matter by sublimating the horrors of suffering through the use of Christian symbolism. They have raised their evocations of the famine to the level of the spiritual, thus paying homage to the universal tragedies, which have ravaged our world.

The number of artists who have illuminated the traumatic events of the famine-genocide through their art continues to grow as does the awareness of the famine-genocide. Unfortunately space does not allow me to discuss their work.

In conclusion, I would like to stress that more research needs to be done. I would also like to reiterate that although there is no documentary art contemporary with the famine, compelling after-images of the famine continue to be created. It would appear that the evocations of the famine of 1932-1933 in art created recently serve as a kind of unifying historical reminder of Ukraine's greatest catastrophe and one of the most brutal genocides in human memory.


[1]. In 1936 such key figures in Ukrainian art as Mykhailo Boichuk, Ivan Padalka, and Vasyl Sedliar were arrested and shot in 1937. Boichuk's wife, Sofia Nalepinska-Boichuk, was arrested and executed on December 11, 1937. The wife of Ivan Padalka, Maria Pas'ko, was arrested and sentenced to eight years in the camps. Property of arrested individuals was usually confiscated leaving families destitute. At the beginning of the 1930s the following artists, Boichuk's students, were arrested and disappeared into Stalin's GULag: Okhrim Kravchenko, Onufrii Biziukov, Ivan Lypkivsky (executed), and Kyrylo Hvozdyk. Mykola Kasperovych and Yukhym Mykhailiv were also sent to concentration camps where they perished. Hvozdyk returned after Stalin's death a broken man and refused to discuss his experiences.

[2]. L.Vladych, "Vasyl Kasian" (Kyiv: Mystetstvo, 1978), pp. 71-72.

[3]. For a complete definition of the Socialist Realist method, see "Pervyi Vsesoiuznyi s''ezd sovetskikh pisatelei" [The First All Union Congress of Soviet Writers] Stenographic transcript (Moscow, 1934), p. 716

[4]. This work has been published and exhibited in Canada under the name Hunger. See "The Phenomenon of the Ukrainian Avant-garde 1910-1935" (Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2001), p. 151.

[5]. Serhii Bilokin, "Holodomor i stanovlennia sotsrealismu yak tvorchoho metodu," unpublished article, 2003, p. 6.

[6]. In 1930 there was a purge at the Art Institute in Kyiv in which the following artists-professors were ousted: Lev Kramarenko, M. Boichuk, F. Krychevsky, V. Kasian, K. Malevych, and V. Tatlin as "bourgeois specialists"

[7]. Jean-Claude Marcadé in "Malevitch" (Paris: Nouvelles Editions Francaises Casterman, 1990), p. 245.

[8]. In a telephone conversation, March 2003.

[9]. "Malevich Artist and Theoretician" (Paris: Flammarion, 1991), fig. 158 indicates 1927 or later. D. Horbachov in "Khronika 2000," no. 3-4 (Kyiv 1993), p. 127 gives 1932-33 as the dates. The fact that the work is in the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and was acquired from Hugo Haring in 1958 makes the earlier date more likely. Jean-Claude Marcadé in "Malevitch," fig. 379, titles the work "Orant aux stigmates cruciferes orthodoxes" and dates it at the end of 1920s.

[10]. In the painting known as "A Complex Presentiment or A Complex Premonition" dated 1928-32 the figure is shown without facial features, beardless, and without arms. On the reverse Malevych had written "The composition is made up of the elements of emptiness, loneliness and the hopelessness of life in 1913 in Kuntsevo." The backdating to 1913 is generally interpreted as a safeguard. At the time Malevych painted the work he had lost his status, had been persecuted, and imprisoned briefly in 1930.

[11]. D. Horbachov and O. Naiden, "Malevych muzhyts'kyi," in "Khronika" 2000, no. 3-4 (Kyiv 1993), p. 226.

[12]. I first learned about "chastushky" (also known as chastivky), popular songs, often couplets, dealing not just with the famine, from Dr. Dagmara Duvirak in Toronto. She heard them from Prof. Mykola Hordiichuk, including ones about the famine. Hordiichuk was a famine survivor and musicologist in Kyiv. D. Horbachov refers to songs about the famine in "The Exuberant World of Ukrainian Avant-garde," in "The Phenomenon of the Ukrainian Avant-garde 1910-1935," pp. 37-38. In "Ukrainian Avant-garde Art 1910s-1930s" (Kyiv: Mystetsvo, 1996), p. 5, Horbbachov quotes a specific chastivka, which relates to Malevych's drawing: "Oi, na khati serp i molot, a u khati - smert' i holod" [Oh, a sickle and hammer on the house, death and famine in the house].

[13] Marcadé, "Malevitch," pp. 254 and 257 gives the date as the beginning of the 1930s, whereas D. Horbachov in "Khronika 2000," dates the work as 1932-33.

[14]. Marcadé, "Malevitch," p. 245.

[15]. Audio and video interviews were conducted by the author with M. Dmytrenko Nov. 29-30, Dec. 1, 1995 for the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre in Toronto.

[16]. Makarenko was awarded a silver medal by the City of Paris for this work on June 1, 1987.

[17]. From "Artist's Statement," 1996.

[18]. Ibid..



Bilokin, Serhii. "Holodomor i stanovlennia sotsrealismu yak tvorchoho metodu" (The Famine and the Establishment of Socialist Realism). Unpublished article, 2003.

Contanza, Mary S. "The Living Witness. Art in the Concentration Camps and Ghettos." New York: Free Press, 1982.

Horbachov, Dmytro. Ukrainian Avant-garde Art 1910s-1930s. Kyiv: Mystetstvo, 1996.

Horbachov, D. and O. Naiden. "Malevych muzhyts'kyi", Khronika 2000. (Kyiv, 1993, no. 3-4).

"Kazimir Malevich 1878-1935." Los Angeles: The Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, 1990.

"Malevich. Artist and Theoretician," Paris: Flammarion, 1991

Marcade, Jean-Claude. "Malevitch," Nouvelles Editions Francaises Casterman, 1990.

"Pervyi Vsesoiuznyi sezd sovetskikh pisatelei." Stenographic transcript. Moscow, 1934.

"The Phenomenon of the Ukrainian Avant-garde 1910-1935," Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 2001

Ripko, Olena. "Boichuk i Boichukisty, Boichukizm." Lviv: Lvivska Kartynna Halereia, 1991.

Ripko, Olena. "U poshukakh strachenoho mynuloho." Lviv: Kameniar, 1996.

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Copies of "HOLODOMOR: THE UKRAINIAN GENOCIDE, 1932-1933" Holodomor 70th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, Canadian-American Slavic Studies Journal, can be ordered from the publisher via the following contact information. The price of this special edition is: $5.00, plus $2.00 US postage, $3.00 in Canada, and $4.00 foreign. Mr. Charles Schlacks, Jr., Publisher, P. O.Box 1256, Idyllwild, CA 92549-1256 USA,


Canadian-American Slavic Studies Journal
Holodomor 70th Anniversary Commemorative Edition
Mr. Charles Schlacks, Jr, Publisher
Idyllwild, CA, Vol. 37, No. 3, Fall 2003

The Fall 2003 Canadian-American Slavic Studies journal features the following articles:

Foreword: "1933. Genocide. Ten Million. Holodomor," by Peter Borisow, President of the Hollywood Trident Foundation and the Genocide Awareness Foundation. Mr. Borisow's article focuses on the fact that it is necessary to correct the erroneous perception that Holodomor was a weather-generated event, as is the common public perception gained through the use of the term, "famine."

Margaret Siriol Colley and Nigel Linsan Colley wrote, "Gareth Jones: A Voice Crying in the Wilderness," an article based on the British reporter Gareth Jones' articles (including those that first broke the news of the Holodomor to the west), diaries, and letters, as well as official British government documents, and letters from former Prime Minister, David Lloyd George.

Dr. Daria Darewych's article, "Images and Evocations of the Famine-Genoide in Ukrainian Art," is enhanced by 16 exemplary illustrations. Dr. Darewych is the President of the Shevchenko Society of Canada, and is a Professor of Art History at York University. Her article explains the reasons why, because of the political oppression pervasive in the USSR, there was, of political necessity, a dearth of artistic images dealing with the Holodomor until the recently achieved freedom of expression permitted the subject to be artistically addressed.

Dr. James E. Mace, Professor of Political Science at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University contributed his article, "Is the Ukrainian Genocide a Myth?" Citing Stalin's letter to Kaganovich of 11 September 1932, he points out the unquestionable fact that the genocidal aspects of the Holodomor were both known and condoned at the highest level of the Stalinist regime.

Johan Ohman, a Ph.D. candidate at Lund University in Sweden, addresses the ways in which Ukrainian subjugation by the USSR especially as demonstrated by the ravages inflicted upon the populace by the Holodomor influenced the formation of both national and personal identities. He also discusses how these subjects, as well as Ukrainian history in general, are presented in Ukrainian textbooks.

"The Holodomor of 1932-1933, as Presented in Drama and the Issue of Blame," by Dr. Larissa M. L. Zaleska Onyshkevych, President of the Shevchenko Society of America, explores the Holodomor-related works of the playwrights, Yuriy Yanovskyi, Serhiy Kokot-Ledianskyi, and Bohdan Boychuk. As with visual arts, the problem of Soviet control of all aspects of life prohibited these writers, and others, to present the Holodomor in its horrible truth and vastness. While in the thrall of the Soviet Union, these writers could mention the ravages of the Holodomor only through the use of veiled allusions, or in publications written by the Diaspora and/or published in the west. Once the collapse of the Soviet Union removed the threat of fast and sure reprisals against the artist, his work, and his family members, artists and writers were freed to relate the once-captive history of their people.

Orysia Paszeczak Tracz translated primary source testimonies from the book edited by Lidia Borysivna Kovalenko and Volodymyr Antonovych, Holod 33: A National Memorial Book. Mrs. Tracz is an Ukrainian ethnographer, translator, and frequent contributor to The Ukrainian Weekly. The variety, and yet universality of experiences suffered by those providing testimonies for this book express the profound influence of the terrors these people witnessed and never forgot.

"The Holodomor: 1932-1933," provides an overview of the Holodomor, and makes use of a variety of international and multi-ethnic sources to support its various points. The Introduction is, "A Selective Annotated Bibliography of Books in English Regarding the Holodomor and Stalinism," and there is a review of the book of primary source famine-appeal letters, We'll Meet Again in Heaven: German-Russians Write Their American Relatives, 1925-1937, by Ronald J. Vossler.

Copies of Holodomor: The Ukrainian Genocide, 1932-1933 can be ordered from the publisher via the following contact information. The price of this special edition is: $5.00, plus $2.00 US postage, $3.00 in Canada, and $4.00 foreign.

Mr. Charles Schlacks, Jr., Publisher, P. O. Box 1256,
Idyllwild, CA 92549-1256 USA,

For additional information on the Famine-Genocide in Ukrainian Art click on:  and scroll down the left-hand column on the home page of the Genocide gallery.