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Marynka Dovhanych

February 26—Day 3

Living under constant threat evokes extremely intense emotions. I have found out what rage really feels like. It’s sharp, simultaneously fiery hot and ice cold.

I am outraged that this is happening to me and all the people of Ukraine. Let’s put an end to crude Russian aggression! Let’s send that sick asshole Putin back to hell, where he fucking belongs.

Burning Rage, 2022

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March 10—Day 15

Every day I get messages that say "stay safe,” “keep your family safe,” or any variation of that. These words are well intentioned, but they are ignorant and frustrating. They completely overlook the fact that we are not safe AT ALL and that it does not depend on us.

Stop ignoring the news! You see civilian deaths in Ukraine every day. Every day, Russia kills our people by shelling, bombing, cold, dehydration, so on. They shoot ordinary people who are trying to escape the terror and humanitarian catastrophe that Russia brought to our cities. Over five hundred dead civilians as of today. I don’t know how many of them I knew. Russia is killing us to scare us into submission. Go to hell, Russia—we will never give up.

On “Stay Safe,” 2022

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March 13—Day 18

Intense worry and urgency. Also a sort of helplessness. And exhaustion. But more worry and urgency.

I pray that nobody I know gets shot. Or dehydrated. Freedom has a high price.

Intense Worry, 2022

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March 17—Day 22

Psychologists say that Day 22 is when you get used to war. Today is Day 22, and indeed, today I felt different. The news is dreadful, but I have sort of learned to function in this reality.

An air-strike alarm caught me outside. I hid in a dent in the ground and noticed tiny leaves sprouting from the winter grayness. I wanted to force them back into the ground and put spring on hold until victory.

Put Spring on Hold, 2022

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March 22—Day 27

I see the air raid siren as a psychological weapon. It’s like a button that turns on fear of death, a tool for mass insomnia.

Each time I hear it, my body becomes tense and full of urgency. I need to hide immediately. But where? There are no reliable shelters in the area.

The wicked siren puts intolerable responsibility on me, but it’s impossible to predict what the next Russian bomb will destroy.

Air Raid Siren, 2022

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March 24—Day 29

I haven’t cried since the war began. I shiver and go blind with wrath instead.

I’ve been luckier than many other Ukrainians.

The city of Mariupol has been completely destroyed by Russia. Life, joy, and hope have been replaced by rubble, corpses, and terror. Families are trapped under wreckage: no food, no water, no way out. Every day they die of injuries, hunger, and dehydration.

Someone close to me is from Mariupol. Day by day I witness hope drip away from her eyes with every grieving tear. My eyes respond, they well up with sorrow, but then wrath dries them up, and I go blind once again.

Siege of Mariupol, 2022

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March 25—Day 30

Russia set Ukraine on fire.

Not having a home to return to is terrifying. Today this is the brutal reality for so many Ukrainians, including many of my friends and family.

It’s interesting to learn what people bring with them when they leave their homes, possibly forever. Besides documents and pets, many of us take the most absurd things: a recently purchased clubbing outfit, a favorite tea cup, an unfinished DIY project. The weird thing I packed is a printed Ukrainian translation of the Chinese Book of Changes, in case I need advice on what to do with my life next, when there is no longer a plan.

Russia Set Ukraine on Fire, 2022

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April 14—Day 53

I have started appreciating the aesthetic of death. Before the war, it was concealed from me behind a veil of naïveté.

Today I saw photos of a Russian carcass in the forest near my house. He had been gnawed down by animals almost fully, except for his green, swollen head. In the contrast of his thin, red bones and his bloated, olive-green head, I noticed eerie beauty. What a fascinating sight.

Locals say that packs of abandoned dogs inhabit the forest now, and that they look very well fed.

Dog Food, 2022

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MARYNKA DOVHANYCH is an artist and filmmaker born in Kaniv, Ukraine, and still living inside the country. She graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Kyiv. Her main artistic medium is animation. Before 2022, she explored such themes as the body and athletic pursuit, Ukrainian domestic and mystic traditions, and the wonders and challenges of the human condition expressed with humor. However, her art is now focused on documentation of the individual and societal changes her country is undergoing as a result of Russian invasion and genocide, as well as a connected reevaluation of Ukrainian culture and history in general. She says, "At a time when Russia is trying to destroy our culture and statehood, everything else has lost its importance."


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