”How Did I Get To The Bomb Shelter?”, curated by Yuliia Sapiha

''How Did I Get To The Bomb Shelter?'', curated by Yuliia Sapiha


HOW DID I COME IN THE BOMBSHELTER is a multidisciplinary exhibition of works by seven contemporary Ukranian artists curated by Yulia Sapiha and produced by The Nordic House in Reykjavik. In the exhibition artists explore themes related to their personal experiences of war during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, longing for peace and security, their paths towards survival and hopes for the future.

HOW DID I COME IN THE BOMBSHELTER seeks to visualize the experiences of artists who came face to face with the war. Wartime is definitely about harshness, hatred and fear, but it is also about boundless courage, empathy and a heightened sense of love, which for many became a ’bomb shelter’. We might then ask: What paths lead to the artists personal shelter?

The works explore these topics in several dimensions, by creating a dialouge between the new surrounding reality in Ukraine and generated experiences from this reality. The viewer is immersed in the abstract history of Ukraine to enable experiencing this moment of before and after. Encouraging the questions: What will be left to restore and recreate when the war is over? How to find peace during these difficult times and keep hope alive for the future?

Artists: Kinder Album (b. 1982), Mykhaylo Barabash (b. 1980), Jaroslav Kostenko (b. 1979), Sergiy Petlyuk (b. 1981), Olena Subach (b. 1980), Art Group Sviter (b. 1982) and Maxim Finogeev (b. 1987).

Art group SVITER is a duo of artists Lera Polianskova and Max Robotov, founded in 2008. The artists work with new media art, sound and video art, spatial art objects and performance.

In 2013, together with Ivan Svitlychnyi, they co-founded the “Shukhlyada” exhibition space, an online platform for independent curatorial projects. In 2018, they co-founded the Photinus community and school, which aims to develop new media art in Ukraine.

The works of the Art group SVITER participated in the following exhibitions: 57th Venice Biennale, transmediale Vorspiel 2018 (Berlin), Digital Cultures Festival 2019 (Warsaw), Ars Electronica Festival 2022 (Linz), New Modern Route in Permanent Collections, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, 2022. As part of their project “The Exposition Environment of the Drawer”, Lera and Max won the State of the ART(ist) nomination at the Ars Electronica 2022 festival.


The idea for this video came about a few years ago when our small artistic community moved to a new studio in Podil, at 3 Hryhorii Skovoroda Street. Podil is one of the most important places for Ukrainian history, education and art, one of the hearts of Kyiv. Julietta has become one of the most famous and iconic residents of this historic neighborhood.

I wanted to be friends with Juliet, the moderately shaggy, moderately large dog who lived in our yard. Julietta wasn’t a friend for food, she wasn’t a friend for attention and caress, her affection didn’t come easily – it was intriguing.

From the studio window, I could see people coming up to Juliet throughout the day, greeting her, feeding her, scratching her ear-Juliet was a local star. In a world where people are so careful to avoid socializing, seek independence and isolate themselves, an old, gray, street dog became the center of a small, sustainable community.

Now I know that war sets its own accents and priorities. However, in the summer of 2022, Juliet’s story was as interesting to me as it was in the summer of 2021. But now I realize that this is a completely different story. It’s a story about an old dog who spent her life in a small Kyiv courtyard, about the people she lived next to, and about the war that changed everything.


Mykhaylo Barabash

Was born in 1980 in the Ternopil, Ukraine. Lives and works in Lviv.

An interdisciplinary artist that works on the border of different genres: new media, installations, performance, painting, land art, graphic techniques.

He studied at the Lviv National Academy of Arts). Twice scholarship holder of the “Gaude Polonia” program of the Polish Ministry of Culture (2011, 2016).

Co-organizer and member of the Art Association “NURT”. Organizer and curator of the Festival of Audiovisual Art “TETRAMATYKA” (Lviv, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019), Art Project “Sacred Space” (Lviv, 2012-2019, Ternopil, 2017), “Mental Game” (Poznan, Poland, 2016), “Mask. LEM” (Lviv, 2016) and other.

Lecturer of the Department of Contemporary Art Practices of the Lviv National Academy of Arts.


Credits: Eythor Arnason

Since 2014 I have been working on different themes related to the events in eastern and southern Ukraine. The topics are different, such as the influence of culture one on the other, coexistence with war, attitudes toward war, and the desire for peace. But mostly it’s all about my attitude to these events and my reflections and experiences regarding the pain of loss, loss of life, homes, land, etc.

Since the beginning of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, I’ve wondered if it’s easy to take someone’s life, how you feel about that person to do it, what the consequences of such an act are and if I’m even capable of it. In one of my most recent works, I offer the viewer the opportunity to take a gunshot. It was this kind of experiment in exploring the precarious limits of the tolerance of violence in society, depending on one’s own interests and desires.

But with the outbreak of full-scale war, everything changed. We were swept up in a field of horrific events with horrific footage of murder, terror, and destruction of homes, theaters, museums, etc., by the occupiers.

Some of my views on life and death, have changed as well. My willingness to take up arms has also changed. And yet, I still don’t know how easily I could have taken someone’s life and how it would have affected me. I don’t like to think about it, though morally I am preparing for it.

Still, I have a way around such an experience, since I teach at the Academy of Art, and teachers have a deferment of mobilization.

So, thinking about how to live my life, I turned to the idea of meditation, or rather meditative monotonous work, which according to various spiritual practices can save me from stress, anxiety, regulate my inner state. Such monotonous activity can be for example “peeling potatoes”.

Maksim Finogeev (b.1987) is a visual artist from Ukraine, who lives and works in Odesa. He graduated from the Kyiv National University of Culture and Arts (2014). His interests range between recreation siteson the Black Sea to violations of LGBTQ rights in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. His work has been featured at Festival Die Digitale(Dusseldorf,Germany), TIFFFestival(Wroclaw,Poland), Circulation(s)(Paris,France), Gogolfest (Kyiv, Ukraine), festival Non Stop Media VIII(Kharkiv, Ukraine), BacklitTriennial (Tampere,Finland), Kaunas Photo Festival(Lithuania), Busan International Photo Festival (South Korea). He  had solo exhibitions at the Ukrainian Scientific Center of Ecology of the Sea, Odesa(2019), Odesa Museum of Western and Oriental Art(2017), Center of Contemporary Art «TeaFactory», Odesa (2016). He received the commission given by the Platform for Cultural Initiatives IZOLYATSIA with Big Media(Ukraine), Places_VirtualRealityFestival (Gelsenkirchen,Germany), LGBTIQA organization “Labrys” (Kyrgyzstan). His work was awarded by Young Artists Competition Natan Altman, Vinnytsia, Ukraine(2019), PrixPictodelaMode, Paris(finalist-2018), “Photographer of the year 2016 FOTO.UA”, Kyiv(2016), Bazaar fashion forward, Harper’s Bazaar Ukraine, Kyiv (2012).


At the beginning of the war, I worked for about a month as a fixer (local producer of stories for themedia) with international photojournalists. I proposed to cover the LGBT topic, but I faced the fact that not every life can be interesting during the war, especially if it is not shaded by the tragedy of the current event. In my project, I deliberately did not want to tell the story of everyone in the photo,avoiding their victimization or heroization. For me, these are ordinary people who were not afraid toremind about other vulnerabilities in times of disaster, such as sexual orientation or gender identity.

Kinder Album was born in Lviv. She studied architecture at Lviv University and the Higher Technical School of East Westphalen-Lippe in Germany.

Kinder Album’s works have been exhibited at the following exhibitions: Piazza Ukraine, Open-Air-Show, La Biennale di Venezia, 2022; Once upon a time three dead parrots, solo exhibition, ArtEast Gallery, Berlin, 2022; Why there will be women artists in Lviv, group exhibition, Lviv Municipal Art Center, 2020; Between Fire and Fire: Ukrainian Art Now, group exhibition, Vienna, 2019 and others.


Credits: Eythor Arnason

“Art in general helped me to cope with stress during the war. It is a powerful therapeutic tool that I am lucky to have.

Ceramics is a slow art. Hand modeling, interaction with clay is very calming. In my ceramics I put philosophical images of war, reflecting on the past and the future. This is how the series Bones (about bones and archaeological artifacts that will remain after us), Limbs (about the body) and Explosions (about flowers, like explosions, the names of flowers Russians call their weapons) appeared.

Ukrainians are the descendants of Trypillians, Scythians, Polovtsians, Tatars and I am inspired by the thought that we have not forgotten their art, and just like them, we will leave our monuments on this land.”

Yaroslaw Kostenko (VJ Yarkus)

Born in Zaporizhye Ukraine, 24 November 1979.

Yarkus is an Ukrainian media artist works with audio visual performances, light installations, video mapping and interactive installations, motion design and sound art. He did video installations at such festivals as Burning Man, SvitloFest, LPM – Live Performance Meeting, BYOB, Signal Festival, Circle of Light, Berlin Light Festival, Visual Brasil, Kazantip, Global Gathering, I:O Art Residence and many others. He is founder of Carbon Media Art Laboratory and audio visual art label – the Sound Eye. Takes an active part in activities of Ukrainian Association of VJs – VJUA.


«Ashes Of War» – looped audiovisual digital art in 3d surreal style with modular sound performance.

Now my country has been at war with Russia for many months. During these months, my family and I experienced a lot – bombings, rocket explosions, relocation, constant air raids, worrying about relatives and friends. At the same time, my brother lives with relatives in Moscow, Russia, and they have a completely different reality, he does not believe me and my parents from Ukraine. He and his children watch TV and believe in a different truth. It is very scary that with help of media, the rulers can manipulate consciousness and set brother against brother. I do not want his children to go in Ukraine again to fight when they grow up. The only thing I want and can do is through my art to draw people’s attention to eternal values that are worth fighting for – peace, democracy, freedom, life, love …

Olena Subach (born in 1980) is a Ukrainian visual artist and photographer. Born in Chervonohrad, Ukraine. Graduated from Volyn State University. Based in Lviv, Ukraine.
She has received awards such as the New East Photo Prize (2016) and the Gaude Polonia Scholarship (2019) while her photographs have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers, including British Journal of Photography, Weltkunst, Vogue Poland, the Guardian, Süddeutsche Zeitung and many others. Her work has been shown at international exhibitions, most recently at the Willy Brandt House in Berlin, the World Bank in Washington DC, the Katarzyna Kozyra Foundation in Warsaw , Tycho Brahe Museum in Ven, Sweden (2022) and  Kunstforum Wien, Austria (2022).
She participated in Odesa Photo Days Festival 2021 (UA), Circulations Festival 2018 (FR), Fotofestival Lodz 2019 (PL) and Landscrona Fotofestival 2022(SW).


Credits: Eythor Arnason

In my project “We no longer feel the future” I am building a narrative by combining photographs taken before and after the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine with a textile installation and apocalyptic images of medieval minuscules. The aim is to create a visual series and a space in which the visitor could plunge into an unknown world of alien feelings and experiences.

This war took away my memories, but I remember the stories of people I meet. Those who were forced to leave their homes or lost them altogether.

I remember how Tetyana from Mariupol said that for her war means broken glass and silence. She told me how she and her husband were looking for gasoline: they went to their friends’ house, went out in the middle of a familiar residential area and found themselves in absolute silence, where everything was filled with broken glass underfoot, glittering in the sun; with every step, the sound of crumbling glass seemed so loud that it pierced the body. Nearby there was a house with all the windows broken, so when she started to call her husband, who had gone somewhere, she realized that there was silence, but no echo – the voice passed through the empty windows and did not return, because it did not meet any obstacles.

This project was created to ensure that such voices and stories are heard, and do not disappear without a trace in silence.

Serhiy Petliuk , media artist. Graduated from the Lviv National Academy of Arts. He lives and works in Lviv.

He uses various artistic media, but mainly video (moving image) in combination with sculptural installations to create immersive spaces where the viewer is often the key element. Video, projections, sound and kinetic elements, combined with carefully designed architectural structures, are designed to create intensely charged environments that affect and act on the viewer’s body, senses and mind. The artist explores the issues of control, aggression, violence, otherness and fear that stem from the constant tension between the individual and society.

Petliuk’s works have been exhibited in Ukraine, Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Hungary, Germany, and others.