"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 


The partnership between M HKA and PAC started with the project ‘Imagine Ukraine’ aiming at enhanced understanding to further the relation between Ukraine and the European Community. This ambition was expressed by the organisers in the text ‘Let’s Imagine’ is a bridge.

Imagine Ukraine came forth from the awareness of the necessity to reach out beyond the immediate urgencies, however pressing those were and continue to be. It wanted to open up to the larger reflection and longer term perspective needed for the future. All the components of the project aimed to add up to that. The art offers it. 

The project wanted to add building blocks for a shared imagination of Ukraine to that.

(c)Oleksandr Burlaka, February 18, Lypska st., Kyiv, 2014 - Courtesy of the Artist

History is a key component for that. Some of the leading historians on the topic were asked to add their understanding to the project.

Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale University and leading historian on Central European history, made video’s with three topics he feels to be key, Ukrainian Victory, where he shows the reasons behind the foreseen victory of Ukraine in the war with Russia and why it is existential for the world democracy; History but more so where he explains why understanding of complicated Ukrainian history is so important for thinking of European and world history and its future; and Tyranny where he discusses the deadlocks of the tyrannies that make them fail.

Serhii Plokhii, professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard University, where he also serves as the director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute wrote the text Ukraine: Gateway to Europe where he points out to the specific role of Ukraine in European history and to the multicultural roots of the Ukrainian identity. 

Thomas Weihe, former head of the board of the Victor Pinchuk Foundation wrote Real Decommunization.  Referring to Putin’s criticism of Ukrainian decommunization politics and his infamous threat to show Ukraine “a real decommunization” by which he meant his intention to annihilate Ukraine as a state,  Mr. Weihe asserts that the war is in fact an annihilation of any ties to Russia and a chance for Ukraine to start anew.

Such a reflective space is made up of conversations and exchanges of ideas. They bring the space to life. They let our joint understanding grow. They may evocate Ukraine in its concreteness and complexity, its possibilities and flight lines. Each of the partners will organise such moments.


The House of European History organised on 12 April 2022 an online debate Ukraine. A European History moderated by Dr Maria Falina, Assistant Professor in European History, School of History and Geography, Dublin City University

With as speakers:

- Dr. Uilleam Blacker, Associate Professor in the Comparative Culture of Russia and Eastern Europe, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies  

- Professor Oksana Mikheieva, Professor of Sociology, Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv and DAAD Professor at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)

- Professor Andriy Zayarnyuk, Professor in the Department of History at the University of Winnipeg

 Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of Poland (1995-2005), and Serhii Plokhii, Director of Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University - Photographs provided by the   PinchukArtCentre © 2022. Photographed by Valentyna Rostovikova.

  Serhii Plokhii, Director of Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University, Yevgenia Belorusets (Ukraine), artist, and Nikita Kadan (Ukraine), artist -  Photographs provided by the   PinchukArtCentre © 2022. Photographed by Valentyna Rostovikova.

 PinchukArtCentre organised on 21 April a debate Defending Freedom

 With Moderator - Aleksander Kwaśniewski, President of Poland (1995-2005), Chairman of the YES Board

 Speakers - Anastasiia Gulej, Holocaust survivor and Ukrainian refugee; Serhii Plokhii, Director of the Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University;   Yevgenia Belorusets, photographer and writer; Nikita Kadan, Ukrainian artist


  Bart De Baere (M HKA), Bjorn Geldhof (PinchukArtCentre) and Nikita Kadan (Ukraine) on How to Imagine a Country - Photographs provided by M HKA © 2022. Photographed by     Evenbeeld.

  M HKA and PinchukArtCentre organised on 5 May a Q&A with Nikita Kadan on How to Imagine a Country