“Our Daily Bread”, an exhibition of artworks commemorating the Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide, opens Friday, October 24th at the Ukrainian National Museum, 2249 West Superior, in Chicago, according to the Action Ukraine Report.
“Our Daily Bread” officially opens at 6:30 PM with a program that features a short video by Ukrainian singer Oksana Bilozir and an opening statement by the granddaughter of a Holodomor survivor, Ms. Oryna Hrushetsky-Schiffman.
In 1932 and 1933, between seven and 10 million Ukrainians were deliberately starved to death during the “Holodomor” - or death by starvation. This genocide was masterminded by Joseph Stalin and his inner circle, and was carried out by Soviets who confiscated every last bit of food from Ukrainian peasants who were resistant to collective farming - and who represented the backbone of the Ukrainian people.
This year, 2008, marks the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor, and the government of Ukraine as well as Ukrainians around the world have been organizing events in an effort to expose and publicize this crime against humanity while there are still survivors young enough to recall its horrors.
In Chicago, the latest event commemorating the Holodomor is an exhibition at the Ukrainian National Museum opening Friday, October 24th. “Our Daily Bread” features 54 artworks that are part of the “Holodomor: Through The Eyes of Ukrainian Artists” collection.
The founder and trustee of the unusual collection, U.S. businessman Morgan Williams, gathered the over 350 original Holodomor artworks in the collection during the last 11 years in Ukraine. Most of the artworks were created after 1988, when Ukrainians were finally free to evoke the suffering and horrors of the Holodomor in the last days of the USSR, right before Ukraine declared independence in 1991.
Before 1988 no one was allowed to talk about this tragedy let alone express themselves through artwork or writings. Many Ukrainian artists may very well have only learned of the Holodomor at that time, after decades of extreme Soviet suppression of the atrocities.
The government of Ukraine has officially declared the Holodomor a genocide against the Ukrainian people and is asking the United Nations to do so as well. Just this past September, the United States House of Representatives passed a Resolution condemning the Holodomor and the former Soviet government’s deliberate confiscation of grain harvests, which resulted in the starvation of millions of Ukrainian men, women, and children.
It was a devastating chapter of Stalin’s reign of terror that wiped out one quarter of the peasantry - and later included the intelligentsia and other leaders of Ukrainian society who were shot and exiled by the hundreds of thousands in an attempt to destroy the Ukrainian nation. And it was carried out at a time when Ukraine, then officially the Ukrainian SSR, had one of the richest farmlands in the world - “the breadbasket of Europe.”
The exhibition will also include a room depicting what life was like in Ukraine prior to enforced collectivization—as well as an evocative walk-through installation depicting the horrors of the Holodomor.
The "Our Daily Bread" Holodomor exhibition is on view through Sunday, November 30, 2008. The Museum hours are Thursday to Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 pm. The Ukrainian National Museum is located at 2249 West Superior Street in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood. Call 312-421-8020 or visit the Museum`s website, for more information.