The image of a country that we miss

The Roman gallery Domus Romana hosts “My Ukraine,” an exhibit of children’s drawings

In the very center of the Italian capital, Romans and guests of the city have an opportunity to see how little Ukrainians imagine and feel their homeland. This unbelievably serene, colorful, and radiant exhibit is the result of an international competition held last year by the Italian-Ukrainian association Ucraina Creattiva with support from the Embassy of Ukraine in Italy. In the past few years, the association has been promoting Ukrainian culture in Italy, organizing joint cultural and artistic events, and helping Ukrainians integrate into Italian society.

The gallery is showing 300 best and most interesting works out the 1,000 that were submitted for the competition. According to association president Viktoria Shevchenko, it was at first planned to hold a competition among the children who reside in Italy. But after the competition had been announced, drawings began to come from all over Ukraine. But what can be called the most interesting part of the exhibit are works by Italian-based children, for most of them are being brought up in international families, have Italian names, go to Italian schools, but consider Ukraine their fatherland. Some of them drew Ukraine by way of imagination because they only know about it from their parents’ tales.

“We didn’t want just to conduct a competition. We wanted to acquaint Italians with a creative and talented Ukraine, a country that has rich and uncommon traditions, family values, and joyous children. It was especially painful to see war on children’s drawings,” Shevchenko says.

The works sent for the competition were judged by the Italian and Ukrainian artists Claudia Manelli, Anna Gioia Bellei, Marco Carloni, Inna Yevtushenko, and Alla Zarvanytska. The best young artists were awarded prizes in various fields: for the technique, the right interpretation of a theme, the choice of colors, etc. The seven-year Kyivite Melania Samoliuk won the grand prix for a professional technique and an entirely non-childish view of the world.

“It is extremely gratifying to see that both the Ukrainian children in Italy and the children who live on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine see Ukraine in soft and glowing colors. It is immediately clear that they are looking into the future with optimism, which is the main condition for success. What deserves a special mention is artistic mastery and straight childish sincerity with which the drawings are executed. They must be shown to the world by all means!” said Alla Volska, 3rd Secretary at the Ukrainian Embassy in Italy.

The exhibit “My Ukraine” will remain open at the Domus Romana gallery until the end of this week.