Ukrainian studio seri/graph in Breda for Artist-In-Residence

We welcome studio seri/graph as of this week for an Artist-In-Residence, consisting of a workshop, exhibition and lecture. By sharing documentary comics, this Ukrainian illustration duo shows the world what is going on in their country. Their intimate comics (usually a joyful form of expression) show that the war is still happening, even if we hear less and less about it in the news.

Studio seri/graph consists of Jenya Polosina and Anna Ivanenko. Before the invasion, they created illustrated projects, zines and screen prints. In 2015, they co-founded PRINT FEST, the first festival for printmaking in Kiev. In addition, the duo illustrated several books and created many multidisciplinary projects between illustration and other disciplines. Besides collaborative projects, they also work separately as illustrators, each with their own themes and working methods.

On Thursday 23 November, Jenya and Anna take part in OOMPH, an evening of interviews organised by We Are Playgrounds at café het Hijgend Hert in Breda. There they talk about their wartime practice and entrepreneurship. As of that day, you can also visit an exhibition of their war-comics at the Nieuwe Veste.

Designing in wartime
For centuries, artists, illustrators and photographers have been connected to war scenes. Since 2022, studio seri/graph has switched almost exclusively to war-related projects. They create comics, graphic interviews and reports. In these, they document their own experiences and the stories of friends and people they meet. The current fear and uncertainty in Ukraine is something we cannot imagine. By reflecting on events and illustrating what is happening, Jenya and Anna’s work makes the war situation visible worldwide.

In March 2022, the duo writes: From the first day of the full-scale war, we receive messages. From different relatives, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, from parents across the border, from Russia. And mostly it feels like “living in parallel worlds.”

A lot of the people, people from art accounts that we were subscribed to, our relatives, our acquaintances – ignore or justify a full-scale invasion, sometimes clearly sometimes in a veiled and dramatic way. Someone even gloats over the deaths of Ukrainians.
We sketched a few statements from this online battle, what we and our friends heard in March 2022, and what we read in the comments of peaceful social media accounts on culture.”

Creativity is being used in many ways during this difficult time. Part of Ukraine’s creative community fled and is trying to create awareness from Poland, Germany and Austria. Others stayed in their homeland and are even organising festivals, while some designers are fighting at the front. Jenya and Anna also stayed in Kiev. Proceeds from festivals and other events are spent on buying drones for the army or protective clothing for friendly soldiers.

During their stay in Breda, studio seri/graph is supervising a workshop with young Ukrainian refugees at De Koepel. From 23 November to 17 December, an exhibition of war-comics will be on display at the Nieuwe Veste.

On Thursday 23 November, Jenya and Anna join OOMPH, an evening of interviews organised by We Are Playgrounds at café het Hijgend Hert in Breda. There they talk about their wartime practice and entrepreneurship. During and after the interview, the audience can engage in conversation.

Other makers speaking this evening are Loek Vugs, Renée van den Kerkhof and Khattar Shaheen. A ticket costs €2.50 and can be ordered here.

This project is in collaboration with We Are Playgrounds and de Nieuwe Veste. Made possible by Pictoright, Kunstloc and Gemeente Breda.

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