Glimpses. Rethinking of spaces in Ukraine.

These photographs from 2015 started off my Lviv project Fragments of Memory but were not part of it.
In this 2022 year, I would like to share those glimpses from Western Ukraine as part of Fotografia Zeropixel group exhibition ‘Spaces’ in Trieste, and also online.

Lviv-Lwów-Lemberg-Lvov-Leopolis changed my perception of history. History no longer belonged to the textbooks, to something frozen that ended in the past, but alive and continuous.

One of the project contributors articulated Lviv’s uniqueness: ‘This city has a neutron bomb effect: about 98% of its houses survived, while over 90% of its population, the social fabric of the city, were utterly devastated. Forceful change of borders, occupation, Holocaust and Soviet deportations have changed the population of the city. We know instinctively the meaning of the term “displaced persons”, as we here are all descendants of these people.’

It is now 2022, the year marked by displacements, destructions, violence of Russia, the land of my birth and youth, in Ukraine, the land of my ancestors and of my contemporaries. Lviv became a key staging ground for refugees. Dozens of thousands were arriving every day. Some continued to Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and onward to the rest of Europe. Some stayed in Lviv.

I’m looking at those 2015 glimpses and trying to imagine the spaces and the people in and around them – a rosette window in the 1913 Austro-Hungarian building, a 1904 art-nouveau railway station, a train carriage, a bridge, an old staircase in the multi-faith cemetery, a wire-mesh fence with the rays of sun shining through. Residential buildings, train stations, bridges are being bombed. Spaces are witnesses. Spaces remember.