"There are no tyrannies that would not try to limit art, because they can see the power of art. Art can tell the world things that cannot be shared otherwise. It is art that conveys feelings."

 - Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine 

Уяви Україну – Митець як свідок / Imagine Ukraine – The Artist as a Witness

© Nikita Kadan. Photo: Pat Verbruggen
The Spectators / Глядачі, 2016
Drawing , 5 x (75 x 55 cm)
charcoal on paper

The Spectators is a series of portraits of 'public enemies' from the former Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1934, the constructivist artist Aleksander Rodchenko was commissioned to create an anniversary album to commemorate 10 years of Soviet rule in Uzbekistan. However, during the 1937-1938 period, some of Uzbekistan's top government officials, whose photographs had been published in the album, fell from grace. In his author's copy of the album, Rodchenko painted in ink the faces of the political prisoners because even possessing portraits of “public enemies” could lead to arrest. According to Kadan, the black spots on the faces of the commissioners are themselves portraits of sorts, faces of the spirits of history observing the augmentation of its ruins.