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“I Did Not Want to Keep Those Days in Memory”: With Support of the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation Vogue Publishes an Interview with Artist Alevtyna Kakhidze


Artist, curator, and gardener Alevtyna Kakhidze was born and raised in the village of Zhdanivka in Donetsk region. From there she moved to Dnipro, and then to Kyiv. She participated in numerous international exhibitions, including last year’s Biennial Manifesta 14 in Kosovo. She is a laureate of the Kazimir Malevich Award (2008), and since 2018, she has been a tolerance envoy of the UN Development Program in Ukraine.

Vogue and the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation have launched a series of interviews in which civilians share their war stories for the whole world to hear them. With the support of the Museum, the story of Alevtyna Kakhidze has been published in the first printed issue of Vogue since the beginning of the full-scale war and on the Vogue UA website.

Amid the full-scale war, Alevtyna did not leave the village of Muzychi in Bucha district of Kyiv region, where she has lived since 2009, just as her mother had not left Zhdanivka in 2014. 

“For me, the war started back then,” Alevtyna says, and recalls how she recorded conversations with her mother and made some sketches. Her mother bravely talked with combatants, tended the garden, brought some fruit to the psychiatric care hospital during the armed hostilities, and sold some vegetables at the market. In January 2019, she died in the queue at the checkpoint of the so-called “DPR” [unrecognized Donetsk People’s Republic]. 

In the first days of the large-scale war, Alevtyna’s husband joined the ranks of the Territorial Defence Units, and she hid in the basement with her dogs. She admits that she did not want to accept reality and keep those days in her memory. She created a diary in the format of a map, on which she marked the explosions – until the liberation of Kyiv region. As an experienced gardener, she left a written message to the world in English on the workshop door in case she did not survive, “Follow the example of the plants as much as possible. They are real pacifists on this planet.”

Can the world live without war? Kakhidze believes that progress is real, “I stand on the position that the world is changing. If it did not change, I would not be sitting here, as I would be in the “villein service” [in serfdom and slavery], probably. People want to see the world without wars, but some people still like to see violence. Once a curator asked what she could do now for me personally. I answered, “Learn the history of Ukraine.””

Read the full interview with Alevtyna Kakhidze on Vogue UA by following the link

Every story about the war matters. To preserve this memory for a better future, share your story on the portal of the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation or via the toll-free hotline 0 (800) 509 001.