Darya Tsymbalyuk, Every Leaf is a Word, 2021, drawing
Darya Tsymbalyuk, The Stories We Tell: Memory, Engagement(s), and Donbas, 2021, video still

Art and Life in Times of War

Darya Tsymbalyuk, Memory of Coal: Stories from the East of Ukraine
Friday, July 7, 2023, 7 p.m.
Language: English
Free of charge. A donation is requested for Serhii Lymanskyi, Director of the Kreidova Flora Nature Reserve in Donetsk.

Darya Tsymbalyuk works at the intersections of environmental and artistic research and on the basis of feminist and decolonial methods. In her lecture, she will talk about her engagement with the social, industrial and ecological developments in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of the east of Ukraine. Focusing on coal, Darya reflects on the geological colonialism in the region, executed through the frame of “Donbas” (Donetsk Coal Basin). She deconstructs the narrative of a once exemplary Soviet industrial region and links the geological extraction to the current Russian occupation and destruction of parts of the east of Ukraine. Speculatively reading coal not only as an archive of industrialization, but also as a vegetal archive, Darya asks what alternative stories about the region can we tell?  Countering the destructive forces of science, industry, and war, she therefore looks for alternative forms of knowledge and interaction between humans, other living beings, and non-living matter. In this lecture, just as in her drawings displayed at the exhibition, she focuses on paleobotanical illustrations of Boleslav Ivanovich Sboromirsky for the 1938 publication of M. D. Zalessky and H. Th. Tchirkova on the fossil flora of the Donetsk Basin. While Zalessky and Tchirkova put their paleobotanical research at the service of the fossil industry, Tsymbalyuk reads Sboromirsky's drawings as a sublimated archive, vegetal traces and narratives of a vanished world.

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