"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

© Zhanna Kadyrova. Photo: Pat Verbruggen
Паляниця / Palianytsia, 2022

At the start of the war Russia unleashed against Ukraine, the word "palianytsia" became a symbol, since Russian occupiers are unable to pronounce it correctly. It became a shibboleth, distinguishing friend from enemy without mistake.

In addition to conventional troops, Russia sent groups of saboteurs to Ukrainian cities in advance of the invasion. The saboteurs’ task was to spy, inform Russians where our armed forces were stationed, where checkpoints and infrastructure facilities are located. They also left identifying marks to help aviation and landing forces navigate and so on. These people moved around the city in civilian clothes but were armed.

Zhanna Kadyrova’s palianytsias are made out of the river stones found in the Carpathian rivers. When the second week of the war started, Zhanna with her husband and co-author Denis Ruban relocated from Kyiv to the Carpathian Mountains, where they launched the project inspired by the local nature.

The artist donates 100% of the money received for these artworks to volunteer organizations and friends who stayed in Kyiv and joined Territorial Defense forces there.