Representatives from 46 Museums in Ukraine Gathered in Warsaw to Discuss the Preservation of Cultural Treasures during The War
Today, delegations from these Ukrainian museums arrived in Warsaw for the FILLING BLIND SPOTS conference, which will take place from July 3rd to 6th. The conference aims to explore Ukraine's position on the cultural map of Europe and delve into the topic of safeguarding cultural valuables during periods of conflict.
This information has been reported on the OBMIN website.
The event, hosted at the Sokolniki Fortress Art Center, will also be attended by Anastasia Bondar, Deputy Minister of Culture of Ukraine. "In Poland, there has been much discussion about Ukraine without the presence of Ukrainians. Now, things will be different," she said.
The conference is organized by the OBMIN foundation, which has been supporting museums affected by Russian aggression against Ukraine for over a year. Cultural institutions have been deliberately targeted, shelled, looted, and their valuable collections destroyed, stolen, or exploited for propaganda purposes.
"This is a war of annihilation against a nation, and in such a war, the fight for culture and its benefits is of fundamental importance. Therefore, it is crucial to expand opportunities and involve Ukrainian museums in international cooperation projects," noted Anastasia Bondar, Deputy Minister of Culture of Ukraine.
OBMIN is a union of 46 museums from all corners of Ukraine, providing opportunities for sharing experiences and responding to crises. The foundation includes not only art and literary museums but also historical, ethnographic, and local history museums. Among them are the Kyiv Museums of Maidan and World War II. New institutions regularly join the initiative.
OBMIN members maintain constant communication with museum workers both in Ukraine and scattered across Europe. It is they who suggest topics to be discussed at the meeting in Warsaw, such as staff competency development, the changing mission of cultural institutions during times of war, working with historical memory and war trauma. During the conference, experts and curators from Polish and European institutions will share their knowledge with museum staff from Ukraine. The program will include lectures and workshops on effective communication, promotion, digitization of collections, and fundraising for current and future cultural activities.
OBMIN initially started by providing direct assistance. Since 2022, they have financed over 200 salaries for museum workers in Ukraine who lost their jobs and means of livelihood. Damaged institutions have been provided with generators, heaters, computers, printers, and protective equipment for safeguarding works of art. However, the foundation was created with a future-oriented vision, aiming to explore how to utilize the wartime crisis to support museum modernization.
"The long-term goal of the foundation is also to present Ukrainian culture in Europe and to unite Ukrainian and Western European cultural institutions, which will lead to knowledge exchange, experience sharing, joint projects, and exhibitions," said Malgorzata Lavrovska-fon Thadden, the founder of the OBMIN foundation.
The conference and everyday work with Ukrainian museums have been supported by the German Embassy in Warsaw, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, the Goethe Institut, as well as the representations of the European Commission, the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation, the Gerda Henkel Foundation, the Maria Prymachenko Family Foundation, and Ernst & Young.
As previously reported by The Gaze, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin showcased the project "Lost Ukrainian Heritage" on its platform. The project displayed artworks stolen by Russian occupiers from the Oleksiy Shovkunenko Kherson Art Museum, featuring the works of prominent Ukrainian artists from the 20th and 21st centuries.