Posts Tagged Ukrainian Institute

Alexander Archipenko, First Cubist Sculptor

None of the sculptors since Rodin made a greater impact in his time like Archipenko. It was in the first decade of his artistic life that he created new laws of modern sculpture and rose in art history as a leader of the art revolution and drew in many others.

Svyatoslav Hordynsky,
Ukrainian artist, poet and writer

Archipenko at his New York studio. 1960 Photo: A. Paschuk

Archipenko at his New York studio. 1960
Photo: A. Paschuk

Every book about twentieth century art mentions Alexander Archipenko. While alive, he was acknowledged as one of the most acclaimed sculptors in the world. His works are in collections at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, MoMa and Guggenheim Museum in New York, and at museums in Stockholm, Berlin and Tel-Aviv. Archipenko is a national artist in France, Germany and the United States where he lived and created. Notwithstanding this, with his unique art, he raised awareness of Ukrainian culture to a higher level more than any Ukrainian diplomat could have.

Archipenko was born in Kyiv, Ukraine in 1887. After studying painting and sculpture at Kyiv Art School, in 1908 he briefly attended the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. However, he quickly abandoned formal studies to become part of more radical circles, especially the Cubist movement. He began to explore the interplay between interlocking voids and solids and between convex and concave surfaces, forming a sculptural equivalent to Cubist paintings’ overlapping planes, thus revolutionizing modern sculpture. In his bronze sculpture Walking Woman (1912), for example, he pierced holes in the face and torso of the figure and substituted concavities for the convexities of the lower legs. The abstract shapes of his works have a monumentality and rhythmic movement that also reflect contemporary interest in the arts of Africa.

As he developed his style, Archipenko achieved an incredible sense of vitality out of minimal means: in works such as Boxing Match (1913), he conveyed the raw, brutal energy of the sport in nonrepresentational, machinelike cubic and ovoid forms. About 1912, inspired by the Cubist collages of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, Archipenko introduced the concept of collage in sculpture in his famous Medrano series, depictions of circus figures in multicolored glass, wood, and metal that defy traditional use of materials and definitions of sculpture. During that same period he further defied tradition in his “sculpto-paintings,” works in which he introduced painted color to the intersecting planes of his sculpture.

Archipenko was represented in the New York Armory Show of 1913 and in many international Cubist exhibitions. In 1921 he moved to Berlin and opened an art school. During that time his works were as famous in Europe as those of Picasso.

In 1923, Archipenko immigrated to the United States. He established an art school in New York City, and in the following year, moved it to Woodstock, NY. Showing his broad interests and widely inventive mind, he created and received a patent for changeable pictures (peinture changeante) known as Archipentura and Apparatus for Displaying Changeable Pictures. Besides working at his art, Archipenko devoted much time to teaching. He was in constant contact with various universities, among them those in Oakland, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Chicago (the New Bauhaus School). In 1927 an exhibition of his works was arranged in Tokyo. In New York, he established a school of ceramics, Arko. In the 1930s, his work appeared in the Ukrainian Pavilion at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. In 1947, Archipenko created the first sculptures out of transparent materials (plastics) with interior illumination (modeling light). In the following years, Archipenko tried his hand at moving figures, which were mechanically rotating structures built of wood, mother of pearl, and metal. At Biennale d’Arte Trivenata in Padua, Italy, he received the gold medal. In later years, he again concentrated on industrial materials, in which he demonstrated his taste for dazzling polychromy. Juan Gris wrote about Archipenko’s influence on the art of the early 20th century: “Archipenko challenged the traditional understanding of sculpture. It was generally monochromatic at the time. His pieces were painted in bright colors. Instead of accepted materials such as marble, bronze or plaster, he used mundane materials such as wood, glass, metal, and wire. His creative process did not involve carving or modeling in the accepted tradition but nailing, pasting and tying together, with no attempt to hide nails, junctures or seams. His process parallels the visual experience of cubist painting.”

Archipenko never severed his ties with his countrymen. During his first years in Paris he was a member of the Ukrainian Students’ Club; in Berlin, a member of the Ukrainian Hromada; and in the United States, a member of the Ukrainian Artists’ Association in the USA. He belonged to the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences and was an honorary member of the Ukrainian Institute of America where he was exhibited multiple times.

Archipenko died February 25, 1964, in New York.

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Art @ the Institute, Exhibit Forms & Metaphors II by Georgian and Ukrainian artist Temo Svirely

Georgian-Ukrainian artist Temo Svirely returned to the Ukrainian Institute of America with Forms and Metaphors II.  Some 30 paintings in both figurative and abstract styles  were shown from October 19 -November 11, 2012, at the Ukrainian Institute’s historic headquarters at 2 East 79th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City. An opening reception with the artist was held on October 19, 2012.

Svirely is well known for his artistic experiments with energy, space, and expression. He writes: “Inconsistency is the universal quality of the universe. In this prism forms and non-forms, abstract and real, pain and joy, creation and destruction, life and death are not contradictory ideas but equal manifestations of the constantly moving cycle of cause and effect. Consequently I apply this or that artistic form of expression as a means of conveying as well as possible the essence of the world in which I live and breathe.”

The artist has exhibited in France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and Russia, as well as his native Georgia and Ukraine. He was born in Zhinvali, Republic of Georgia, in 1964 and graduated from the Zhinvali Art School and the Tblisi Academy of Fine Arts. He lives and works in Kyiv, Ukraine.

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“Art at the Institute” is sponsored by the Ukrainian Institute of America, 2 East 79th Street, New York.

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An Evening with ZENIA MUCHA

On Saturday, October 20, the Ukrainian Institute of America and Branch 113 of UNWLA presented An Evening with Zenia Mucha, a successful and spirited question and answer session with the current Executive Vice President, Chief Communications Officer for The Walt Disney Company, and former powerhouse advisor to politicians Governor George E. Pataki and Senator Alfonse D’Amato.

After an introduction by Branch president Christina Samilenko and brief remarks by Mucha—during which the 2012 Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications stressed the importance of the work ethic and sense of limitless possibility that her immigrant parents had instilled in her—the floor was opened to questions. The diverse capacity audience included many young communications professionals eager to hear from a superstar in their field, as well as, much to Mucha’s delight, some of her former classmates from the East Village’s St. George Ukrainian Catholic School. Topics ranged between the personal, the political, and the professional; in response to a crowd appreciative of her time and achievements, Mucha was generous in turn, and answered questions for well over an hour.

While deeply committed to and inspired by her work over the past decade with the Walt Disney corporation, many of Mucha’s most revealing comments had to do with her enormously influential time in the public sector. A life-long Republican, Mucha, whose biggest personal and professional regret is not being in New York on September 11, 2001, spoke candidly about the disenfranchisement she feels from the current iteration of the party, which she characterized as consumed with a focus on social issues to the detriment of the kind of impact-making policies she had a hand in shaping during her tenure with Governor Pataki. And while her time with the Governor was among the happiest and most professionally fulfilling in a career full of highlights, best—or at least most influential—boss honors went to Senator D’Amato, whose indefatigable energy and high expectations of those around him resulted in Mucha’s developing the consummate communications skill set that laid the foundation for her ascension to the very highest ranks in that field.

When Mucha spoke of her time at Disney, it was the company’s commitment to quality and the way in which it represents America around the globe that seemed to inspire her most—as well as the fact that her job allows her to interface with each facet of the company, making every day different from the next. While she side-stepped the inevitable “What Disney princess would you be?” question, Mucha did admit that, like all top executives, she had to take a costumed turn around the theme park as part of her corporate initiation process. The memory of rapturous responses from young fans clearly left Mucha moved, but the strategic communicator in her was loathe to divulge the Disney character involved. But perhaps the most direct answer of the evening came in response to a young woman curious as to how Mucha navigated her way to the pinnacle of such an iconic company (she reports directly to Disney CEO Robert Iger). “Well, I came in at the top,” said Mucha with a well-earned chuckle. “So I can’t really answer that question.”

At the conclusion of the Q & A, Mucha was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a selection of catalogs from the Ukrainian Museum. The reception immediately following featured an abundant culinary spread and a continuation of the lively dialogue that preceded it. Mucha stayed and answered questions until the very end of the evening, a Los Angeles-based power broker happy to be back among the community and in the city that shaped her destiny.

by Adriana Leshko

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MATI presented “IMMORTAL BELOVED” All-Beethoven Program. Dedicated to the memory of Irena Stecura.

On Saturday, October 6, 2012 at the Ukrainian Institute of America, Music at the Institute (MATI) presented “IMMORTAL BELOVED” All-Beethoven Program. The concert was dedicated to the memory of MATI co-founder Irena Stecura.

Іrena Stecura (1931-2011). Іrena Skvirtnianska Stecura was born in Krakow Poland on June 27, 1931. With the end of World War II, the family gained admission through the displaced persons camps in Austria to the United States. They settled in New York City, where Irena became an active member of the Ukrainian community and of the Ukrainian Scouting Organization, Plast. A competent pianist, she completed an MA in Music at CUNY’s Hunter College and then embarked on a singularly fertile activist career for the promotion of the arts and of Ukrainian artists. Irena Stecura managed the off-Broadway New Theatre (1964-1974) in New York City, while also working with the legendary Ukrainian-born impresario Sol Hurok (1988-1974) who was responsible for introducing the Bolshoi and Kirov ballet companies to American audiences. She became a member of the Board of Directors of the Ukrainian Institute of America, where she founded the successful Music at the Institute (MATI) program. On October 28, 1989, MATI’s inaugural evening featured pianist Alexander Slobodyanik (1941-2008) and his son pianist, Alex Slobodyanik. Future MATI events showcased the violinist Oleh Krysa with his wife pianist Tatiana Tchekina and sons violinists, Petro and Taras Krysa, the pianist Mykola Suk, pianist Lydia Artymiw, the Lysenko Quartet, among others. Irena Stecura was generous and unwavering in her efforts to spotlight artists from Ukraine and help them gain wider recognition in the West. Self-employed as a real estate agent, she opened up her own apartment on Central Park West as an art gallery. Her selfless promotion of the artists and the arts did not go unnoticed.
In 1993, after Ukraine’s independence, Irena Stecura settled permanently in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, from where she thought herself best positioned to continue her mission of raising domestic and foreign awareness of the needs of Ukraine’s artists struggling under post-Soviet conditions. Invited to act as advisor to Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism in August 1993, Irena established the Ukrainian Artist Management Agency (based in New York City) to remedy the lack of support and proper management hindering the careers of Ukraine’s artists. She created a seminar series entitled “The Classics are Classy”–which she herself wrote and moderated and took on the road from Kyiv to Lviv, Vinnytsia, and Zhytomyr. In addition, Irena published a biweekly Kyiv Entertainment Guide through which she informed the public—and especially tourists to Ukraine —about performances scheduled in Kyiv. Along with other arts enthusiasts, she took on a major renovation project of one of Kyiv’s cultural landmarks, establishing the “Friends of the National Art Museum of Ukraine”. However, lacking adequate funding or government support, she was forced to abandon this important project.
In 1998, Irena Stecura produced a CD of Tchaikovsky’s Divine Liturgy St. John Chrysostom (Op.41, 1880) performed by Viktor Ovdij with the Kyiv Chamber Choir, directed by Mykola Horbych. She wrote critical reviews of many performances offered in Kyiv, for example, concerts given by the composers Volodymyr Rynchak and Myroslav Skoryk, and many others. Irena was the eternal optimist, never losing sight of the larger goal of Ukraine’s return to Europe, and never losing faith in her vision. She died on November 18, 2011, in Ternopil and is buried nearby on Ukrainian soil.

At the concert performed Randall Scarlata, baritone; Solomiya Ivakhiv, violin; Amit Peled, cello; Gilbrt Kalish, piano.

Hailed for his warm, expressive sound, consummate musicianship, and winning way with the audience, baritone RANDALL SCARLATA enjoys an unusually diverse career. He is equally comfortable singing recital, opera, oratorio, chamber music, and works for voice and orchestra. He has performed as soloist with the symphonies of San Francisco, Philadelphia, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, the American Symphony, and the National Symphony, among others. In addition, he has appeared at international music festivals, including Ravinia, Marlboro, Menlo, Edinburgh, Vienna, Salzburg, Aspen, Spoleto, and on concert stages across five continents. A frequent performer of new music, he has given world premieres of works by Ned Rorem, George Crumb, Richard Danielpour, Christopher Theofanidis, Thea Musgrave, Daron Hagen, Samuel Adler, and Paul Moravec. His numerous recordings can be heard on the Chandos, Bridge, Naxos, Albany, Arabesque, CRI, and Gasparo labels. Mr. Scarlata’s awards include First Prize at the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, First Prize at the Das Schubert Lied International Competition in Vienna, First Prize at the Joy in Singing Competition in New York, and the Alice Tully Vocal Arts Debut Recital Award. He holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School, and also attended Vienna’s Hochschule für Musik as a Fulbright Scholar. He currently serves on the faculties of SUNY Stony Brook and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at West Chester University.

Violinist SOLOMIYA IVAKHIV has quickly earned a reputation for performing with “a distinctive charm and subtle profundity” (Daily Freeman). Born in Ukraine, she made her debut with the Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of thirteen and has won top prizes in competitions, including the Sergei Prokofiev Competition and Fritz Kreisler Charles Miller Award from the Curtis Institute of Music. Ms Ivakhiv has performed at major festivals, including Steamboat Springs, Musique de Chambre à Giverny in France, Prussia Cove in England, and her performances have aired on National Public Radio, Voice of America Radio, Ukrainian National Radio and Television, and China’s Hunan Television. As a chamber musician, Ms Ivakhiv collaborates with many of today’s finest artists, including Joseph Silverstein, Claude Frank, Gary Graffman, and Steven Isserlis. Ms. Ivakhiv is in her second year as the Artistic Director of the “Music at the Institute” Concert Series (MATI). Ms Ivakhiv is a graduate of the world-renowned Curtis Institute of Music and holds a Doctorate of Music Arts degree from Stony Brook University. Her principal teachers have been Joseph Silverstein, Pamela Frank, the late Rafael Druian, and Philip Setzer. Dr. Ivakhiv is performing on Antonio Stradivari “Nachez” Violin made in 1686. This instrument is generously loaned to her by Dr. Winifred and Mr. John Constable of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

From the United States to Europe to the Middle East to Asia, Israeli cellist AMIT PELED, a musician of profound artistry and charismatic stage presence, is acclaimed as one of the most exciting instrumentalists on the concert stage today. He has performed as soloist with many orchestras and in the world’s major concert halls, including Carnegie and Alice Tully Halls in New York, Salle Gaveau in Paris, London’s Wigmore Hall, Berlin’s Konzerthaus, and Tel Aviv’s Mann Auditorium. He is also a frequent guest artist as such prestigious music festivals as Marlboro, Newport, Seattle Chamber Music Festival, Heifetz International Music Institute, Schleswig Holstein and Euro Arts (Germany), Gotland (Sweden), Prussia Cove (England), The Violoncello Congress in Spain, and the Kfar Blum Music Festival in Israel. As a recording artist, Mr. Peled has just released two critically acclaimed CDs: The Jewish Soul and Cellobration on the Centaur Records label. Amit Peled has been featured on television and radio stations throughout the world, including NPR’s Performance Today, WGBH Boston, WQXR New York, WFMT Chicago, Deutschland Radio Berlin, Radio France, Swedish National Radio & TV, and Israeli National Radio and Television. A highly sought-after pedagogue, Mr. Peled is professor of cello at the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University. Amit Peled is performing on Pablo Casal’s Matteo Goffriller cello, made in 1700 and generously loaned to him by Mrs. Marta Casals Istomin and the Casals Foundation.

Pianist GILBERT KALISH leads a musical life of unusual variety and breadth. His profound influence on the music community as educator and as pianist in myriad performances and recordings has established him as a major figure in American music making. A solo artist who has released over 100 recordings, he is also noted for his frequent appearances with many of the world’s most distinguished chamber ensembles and for his collaboration with soprano Dawn Upshaw, cellist Joel Krosnick, and, above all, mezzo soprano Jan de Gaetani. Mr. Kalish was the pianist of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players for 30 years and a founding member of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, a group devoted to new music that flourished during the 1960s and 70s. In 2007, he was invited to be an artist member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has performed recitals in most of the major musical capitals and also appears as soloist at many leading music festivals, including Mostly Mozart in New York and the Brighton and Aldeburgh Festivals in England. He has given world premieres of works by Elliot Carter, George Crumb, Charles Ives, Leon Kirchner, George Perle, Ralph Shapey, and David Diamond. Columbia, Desto, Folkways, Acoustic Research, Bridge, and Nonesuch are among the many labels for which Mr. Kalish has made numerous recordings of solo works, chamber music, and as accompanist. His recordings encompass classical repertory, 20th century masterworks, and new compositions. As a highly influential educator, Mr. Kalish is Distinguished Professor and Head of Performance Activities at SUNY at Stony Brook (since 1970). From 1968 to 1997, he was a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center, serving as “chairman of the faculty” from 1985 to 1997. He has also been a guest on the faculties of the Banff Center and the Steans Institute in Ravinia. Mr. Kalish is the recipient of a number of awards for his exceptional contributions to chamber music and to music of our time.

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Art @ the Institute, Exhibition Ukrainian Socialist Realism. The Jurii Maniichuk & Rose Brady Collection

If you missed the Ukrainian Institute of America’s recent exhibit, Ukrainian Socialist Realism, you missed a great show of paintings by Ukrainian artists of the 1950s-1980s. But you can still see gems of the Collection of Jurii Maniichuk and Rose Brady at the Ukrainian Institute’s building on 2 E. 79th St. in New York City now. The Institute recently renovated the fourth floor of its historic building and is dedicating it to the arts. Works from the Maniichuk-Brady collection will be on display through 2018.

The exhibit, Ukrainian Socialist Realism, ran from September 14th through October 7th. More than 300 people attended the opening reception on Sept. 14, one of the best turnouts ever for an Institute opening. About 80 people took part in the symposium on the subject, “Ukrainian Socialist Realism: Propaganda or Art?” on Sept. 16. Artist and Graphic Designer Hilary Zarycky, Professor Alexander Motyl of Rutgers University, and Professor Lyudmila Lysenko of the Ukrainian Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture addressed the issues of art and propaganda. See Professor Motyl’s recent article, “Seeing Ukrainian Socialist Realism,” in the World Affairs Journal.

Ukrainian Socialist Realism displayed paintings collected by the late Jurii Maniichuk, a Ukrainian-American lawyer who worked as a consultant for the World Bank in Kyiv in the mid-1990s. The works have never been shown outside the Soviet Union. As artists and museums struggled in the economic turmoil of the 1990s in newly independent Ukraine, Maniichuk assembled a small team of art specialists to help him assemble a collection of museum quality paintings of a genre in danger of being destroyed. Maniichuk legally transported these paintings from Ukraine to the U.S. in 1999. Maniichuk died unexpectedly in 2009 while visiting Ukraine. His wife, Rose Brady, now administers the collection.

You are invited to post your comments about the paintings or the show on this blog or to email Rose Brady at

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Memorial Concert in honor of Walter Nazarewicz

On Sunday, April 1th, 2012 at the Ukrainian Institute of America was held a Memorial Dinner and Concert in honor of Walter Nazarewicz – esteemed past president of the Ukrainian Institute. At the Concert performed violinist Solomiya Ivakhiv, cellist Natalia Khoma, soprano Oksana Krovytska, pianists Mykola Suk and Volodymyr Vynnytsky.

Walter Nazarewicz

Walter Nazarewicz (1927-2011)

An active member of the Ukrainian-American community and multi-term President of the Ukrainian Institute of America, Walter Nazarewicz was born on July 18, 1927 in New York City. He attended college at the Cooper   Union, where he received his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering. Mr. Nazarewicz then went on to obtain his Master’s, also in Chemical Engineering, at New York University. With his formal education completed, Mr. Nazarewicz began to work at the Pfizer Corporation, a leading manufacturer of pharmaceuticals and chemicals. His career at that corporation spanned an impressive 43 years. Between the years of 1972 and 1975, Mr. Nazarewicz and his family lived in Japan, where he founded a subsidiary of Pfizer named Pfizer-Quigley KK. The subsidiary served the Japanese steel industry, which was the largest in the world. In addition, Mr. Nazarewicz succeeded in building for Pfizer over 35 plants in 15 countries, including the United States, Japan, Canada, Brazil, Poland, and Slovakia, among others. Mr. Nazarewicz also served as President of Pfizer’s Minerals, Pigments, and Metal division, which concentrated on serving the paper manufacturing industries of the world.Walter Nazarewicz had also always been interested in Ukrainian traditions and active in the Ukrainian community. Early into his Pfizer career, Mr. Nazarewicz became a member of the Ukrainian Institute of America. Mr. Nazarewicz immediately made his mark on the Institute. He helped to create a special tax status for non-profits, including the Institute. In addition, he was instrumental in the Institute’s sponsorship of Slavic Heritage Week. This magazine was invaluable in that it allowed all Slavic people to write about their culture during the Communist 1980s. Mr. Nazarewicz recognized people who worked and continue to work hard to better the economic and cultural situation of Ukraine and its people – he bestowed Man of the Year awards on former Mayor of Kyiv Oleksander Omelchenko and on Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.

The Institute has Mr. Nazarewicz to thank for the ongoing restoration of its beautiful mansion on 79th Street. His philanthropic support and the securing of grants from both New York City and State have made an enormous impact on the way that the Institute is able to serve the Ukrainian community. Walter Nazarewicz will be deeply missed, but his legacy at the Institute will live on through all the great work he has done. He is survived by his wife Frances, his children Scott and Susan and grandchildren.


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Silent Auction to benefit Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv

On Saturday, March 24th, 2012 a silent auction was held at the historic Ukrainian Institute in New York City to benefit the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. Headed by the Rt. Reverend Borys Gudziak, the Ukrainian Catholic University, or UCU, serves to encourage modern learning and intellectualism in Ukraine, a country that has struggled to free itself from its post-Soviet bonds for over two decades.

UCU is the first Catholic university to exist in Ukraine. Fittingly, its current headquarters is located on the site of a former Communist KGB headquarters in Lviv. The beautiful, architecturally modern building contains very few walls to symbolize togetherness and unity, and also to encourage intellectualism and education—they must not be separated from each other. UCU is currently one of the most important Catholic learning centers in the world, and it is pushing Western values into the East. The University recently ran a successful outreach program in which Fordham students visited UCU to encouraged open borders between the United States and Ukraine. The trip was so successful that Fordham’s Global Outreach program will continue to send students to Ukraine to visit UCU.

Olena Dzhedzhora, one of the speakers are the auction, is the International Academic Relations Director at the Ukrainian Catholic University. Ms. Dzhedzhora, who has been working at UCU for nearly 20 years, spoke about how the University is working to reverse the negative effects that Communism has had on Ukraine.  She explained that the University’s goal is to re-create Ukrainians who value intellectualism, openness, the Church, and art. Another speaker at the event was Alex Kuzma, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation. Mr. Kuzma emphasized that the University is instrumental in creating a democratic society, since change will not happen in a “top-down” fashion. “Real change must come from the ground up,” says Mr. Kuzma. If a nation wants to change its circumstances, then its people must work together to do so, he continued. The students of UCU are those kinds of people. One prime example is the fact that UCU students were among the front line during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution in 2004.

by Andrea Kebalo

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photos by Olena Sidlovych

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