Object: Photo of his family outside the Ukrainian Church in Duke Street, London
The Interview took place at the Ukrainian Institute, London.
Andy Hunder is the Director of the Ukrainian Institute which develops and promotes a greater awareness, understanding and knowledge of Ukrainian history, language, current affairs, religion and culture
The photo shows Andy and his family on the steps of the Ukrainian Church in Duke Street with a traditional Ukrainian Easter basket, which is blessed on Holy Saturday or Easter morning.
About Home to Home
Home to Home: Landscapes of Memory, is a cultural heritage project. Kettle Partnership (London) and the Ivan Honchar Museum (Kyiv) developed a joint project looking at the memories that individuals attach to objects.
The project curators, Ihor Poshyvalio and Leah Whittingham interviewed Ukrainians in London and Kyiv, each interviewee was asked to bring an object that is from Ukraine or has a memory of Ukraine attached. In London, we asked Ukrainians and Ukrainian descendants to choose an object that reminded them of Ukraine and inspired a personal story. And in Kyiv, the Ivan Honchar Museum contacted individuals throughout Ukraine, asking them to choose objects that remind them of a particular time or memory. These objects have engendered the telling of stories and through listening to these stories we explore both the history of Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora community in London.
This partnership is supported by the Tandem Programme which is funded by the European Cultural Foundation and MitOst. This programme aims to support new, long-term creative partnerships and projects across the cultural sector through ‘real-life’ sharing and cooperation.
London/Kettle Partnership/Leah Whittingham
Ukrainian immigration to the UK dates from the beginning of the 20th century. The first documented evidence of Ukrainians in the country is a record of 100 families settling in Manchester a couple of years before World War I. The first significant group of migrants left Ukraine in the wake of the Russian Revolution and the ensuing incorporation of the Ukraine into the Soviet Union. The second main influx came at the end of World War II, when Britain became host to many Ukrainians, mainly POWs from the Polish and German armies and displaced persons from labour camps across Europe.
With the break up of the USSR there has been a further influx of Ukrainians and the unofficial estimate is that approximately 120,000 Ukrainians live in the UK. Compared with other Eastern European diaspora communities in the UK, the Ukrainians have been relatively insular in terms of sharing their culture and as a result there isn’t a great deal known about Ukrainian cultural identity or Ukrainian history within the UK.
The Ukrainian community in London itself is a well organised with the key hubs being – The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB), the Ukrainian School, the Ukrainian Institute and the 2 Ukrainian Churches – The Catholic Church in Duke Street and the Orthodox Church in Acton.
Leah Whittingham: ‘I started the project by contacting some of these key Ukrainan organisations such as the (AUGB),the Ukrainian School and the Ukrainian Institute. These organisations proved invaluable in terms of helping me find people who would like to be interviewed. Over the course of the year-long project, I felt that I earned the trust of some key individuals and learnt a great deal about the experience of the Ukrainian community in London.
Kyiv/Ivan Honchar Museum/Ihor Poshyvalio
Ivan Honchar Museum (Ukrainian Centre of Folk Culture) is a museum showcasing the culture of Ukraine and preserving Ukrainian folk art. The Museum is a living institution, not only a collection of exhibits. There are folk art studios, shops, a theatre of folk songs and folklore, Ukrainian cuisine hands-on classes and other courses.
The museum was founded on a private collection of Ivan Makarovych Honchar shortly after his death in 1993. During the Soviet period, Ivan was accused of nationalism. Each individual showing an interest in his private collection was registered with the KGB. The collection consists of over 15,000 items from the 16th to the early 20th centuries. A good example is a painting of the Ukrainian folklore hero Cossack Mamay. Other items include over 500 icons from the 16th century, 100 paintings by famous Ukrainian artists, an impressive collection of over 2,500 items of textiles from the 18th and 19th centuries, pottery, toys, Easter eggs, wood carvings and Ukrainian folk music instruments. Another part of the museum consists of Honchar’s private library with books containing material that had the possessor sent to prison during Soviet times.
Ihor Poshyvalio is the deputy director at the Museum: ‘This project, telling the stories of Ukraine through objects, has brought me to new places and people, providing me with new experience and visions. In the Honchar Museum we have thousands of objects, but most of them are silent, without their stories. The conception of the museum’s permanent exhibition is to display objects with a minimum of direct interpretation, so that the objects can speak for themselves. To understand a country, its culture and traditions, solely through a visual context does not work well for every visitor and I think that additional information describing the context in which an object existed should be provided.
Home to Home is a way to learn how to search, discover and extract forgotten and often neglected stories about the objects. To make the exhibits more personal and interesting for the visitors and thus help us to develop new audiences.
My interest is focused on the objects which are connected to our collections of folk art. In a period of six months I visited cities and villages meeting people who were happy to share the stories about these objects that were important for them. Some of them were reluctant at first to share their memories, as this was something very unusual here. The Soviet regime’s legacy has made many people be careful about speaking publically, for this and many other reasons Ukrainian are not so accustomed to speaking about their personal feelings and ideas.
We have succeeded in discovering fascinating stories from people of different age, education, profession, place of living, and world outlook. I am pleased to share these stories by different media (internet, print, exhibits) in a hope to encourage other people do the same. We hope to continue to collect both stories and objects in Ukraine and in London and potentially see how this project could start to form the beginning of digital archive of stories that illuminates a personal history of Ukrainian people both at home and away from home.’