Crowds of visitors were wowed by the Ukrainian Day Celebrations which were held at The Atkinson in Southport on Saturday (3rd February 2024).
Over the past three months, Ukrainian people living with families in Sefton have been putting together a special exhibition celebrating Ukrainian art and culture.
Echoes of Ages: Ukraine’s Storied Past and Indomitable Spirit runs until 24th February 2024 – the day when Russian troops invaded Ukraine two years ago.
Admission is free.
Echoes of Ages is a powerful and moving exhibition that explores the rich culture and history of Ukraine, from its legendary past to its present-day struggle for freedom. Every Saturday throughout the exhibition, you take part in practical workshops and learn more about the country and its people.
It is curated by Nina Karetska, Vita Mahlovana and Olena Kondratenko
They said: “We aim to acquaint English audiences with the rich culture of our country, encompassing traditions, music, and the resilience of our people.
“The exhibition features artefacts that have been passed down through generations, some dating back nearly a century, offering a glimpse into the cultural tapestry of Ukraine.”
The moving display also features moving artwork created by Ukrainian children expressing their feelings about the war in their country, along with details of the people on the frontline.
A Ukraine flag, signed by troops on the frontline, hangs on the wall.
Also on show are beautiful photos taken by Nina Karetska, accompanied by the stories behind them.
Nina lives in Southport, learned English at Southport College and is studying Photography at Hugh Baird College in Bootle while also working at a care home in Southport.
Nina’s project highlights the experiences of Ukrainians who fled the war and were housed by sponsors in the Southport.
It is part of a larger project which is being exhibited at The Atkinson in Southport from 3rd-24th February – the day when Russian troops invaded Ukraine two years ago.
Nina was at the exhibition with her daughter, Emilia.
She said: “Two years have passed, two years of war, and it feels surreal that it has endured for this long. I can vividly recall that moment, 5 o’clock in the morning on 24th February—the wails of my seven-month-old daughter, the distant echoes of explosions, and the chilling declaration of war. It was a moment so horrifying that the notion of modern warfare, happening to us, seemed unfathomable.
“I was 28 years old when the war started. I am 30 now. My daughter is now three.
“It looks like being a long war. We don’t know when we will be able to go home.”
Nina and Emilia have been warmly welcomed by the Talvet family in Southport.
Nina said: “ Upon our arrival, their The future of Ukraine and Great Britain, together. The Karetska and Talvet families: united by friendship. warmth extended beyond words – they adorned our room with photographs of loved ones, creating a semblance of home in our new reality.
“The Talvet family, with boundless generosity, became our anchor in the storm, supporting us not only materially but emotionally as well. The friendship among the trio of little girls – Emilia, Ruby, and Florense – is a testament to the enchanting world that children create when they come together.
“As parents, witnessing the camaraderie among these three little girls is a source of immense joy.
“When I arrived in Southport, I didn’t speak any English. I have been learning the language thanks to support from Southport College, and family I am with and people I meet.”
The opening of Echoes of Ages, and the Ukrainian Day Celebrations, was enjoyed by a substantial number of visitors.
Nina said: “The response has been brilliant! It has been lovely to see.
“We have been working on this exhibition for the past three months, so it is good to see it open for people to see.
“We are really keen to share Ukrainian culture with people in England. Please come and see the exhibition and take part in our workshops.
“As a country, Ukraine needs more support. The war is still going on, and we don’t know when it will end.
“A lot of people have died. Many of my family and friends are still in Ukraine, and I worry for them.
“Today it is a critical situation in Ukraine. We don’t know what is going to happen next.
“I am so glad we are living in Southport. It is a beautiful place to be.
“People in Southport have helped us with so many things.
“I think Southport is a lovely town, with so many things for children to do.
“The people here are so lovely.
“I have never seen people so kind as they are in Southport.”
The Ukrainian Day Celebrations on Saturday saw the first visitors serenaded with a musical Ukrainian Choir, a Meet and Greet and Korovai (the traditional braided bread) in the Foyer, with a host of Ukrainian people dressed in traditional Ukrainian costumes.
People stepped into a world of vibrant colours, rich customs, and authentic warmth..
It was followed by a busy coffee morning in the Theatre Bar with guests enjoying freshly baked cakes, scones, muffins, and cookies, all lovingly prepared by local community bakers.
Donations were given to the Red Cross Ukrainian Appeal.
Families then enjoyed traditional Ukrainian fairy stories and crafts in Southport Children’s Library.
There was a varenyky (dumpling) making workshop and a motanka doll workshop on the Museum Landing.
There is more to come too:
Saturday 10 February – Ukrainian Workshops Day
Saturday 17 February – Heart & Hands: A Day of Ukrainian Arts & Crafts
Saturday 24 February – Petrykivka Painting: A Ukrainian Folk Art Workshop