‘Further the local knowledge’: Ukrainian poetry events meant to spread awareness

A Ukrainian poetry reading was organized Thursday in Reno by local curator and art manager Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt, an event aimed to spread awareness of the country’s culture.

Steinbrecher-Pfandt and art economist Denis Belkevich have organized a series of public readings of Ukrainian authors in museums around the country, which started Thursday at the John and Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art in Reno.

“We will present work depending on the situation and specific location,” said Steinbrecher-Pfandt in a news release. “For example, for the MoMA (New York Museum of Modern Art), the prose of Alexander Dovzhenko (whose film works are part of the museum’s collection) will be an ideal fit. We also plan to read from the memoirs of other Ukrainian artists from the MoMA collection — Oleksandr Arkhipenko and Sonia Delaunay. Many American museums own works by our artists, which are often kept in storage. Our goal is to have these works on permanent display and present them to the world.”

The first public reading featured American artists and curators performing works by the most known authors of Ukrainian poetry — Taras Shevchenko, Ivan Franko, Lesya Ukrainka, Mykola Khvylyovy, and works by contemporary authors including Lina Kostenko, Sergei Zhadan, and Oleg Teplykh in English.

Barbara Walker, professor of Russian, Soviet, and Inner Eurasian history at the University of Nevada, Reno, gave a brief presentation on Ukrainian history. Her research specialties include Russian and Soviet intellectual life and culture, the Cold War, and the histories of knowledge and expertise.

“The Reno art community has been actively supporting Ukrainians and donating funds to the refugees fleeing Ukraine,” said Vivian Zavataro, director of the John and Geraldine Lilley Museum of Art, in the release. “For instance, Artemesia Studios united Reno-based artists for a fundraiser for the people of Ukraine. I hope this event will further the local knowledge about the rich culture and art of Ukraine.”

Each evening will begin with a historical and cultural context of Ukrainian art — from the Scythian and Trypillya cultures to Ukrainian avant garde and contemporary art, gradually shifting to Ukrainian literature. According to the organizers, the historical background will give a better understanding of the literary work.

During the public readings, funds will be raised for the Ukrainian charitable foundation World of Future in Chernivtsi. Founded by psychologist and philanthropist Alla Zoria, the foundation has been actively working with humanitarian projects and organizations, such as UNICEF, the World Food Programme, and UNHCR since the beginning of the war, the release states.

The next event will take place in New York at BetaWorks Studios.

Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at

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