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Festival introduces western Ukrainian culture to people of Kharkiv

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Women are about to enter the Yermilov Center in Kharkiv where one of the Galicia Cult festival exhibitions is taking place on Oct. 7.

KHARKIV, Ukraine – An ironic portrait of nationalist leader Stepan Bandera, drawn in the style of a Soviet New Year postcard, with bottles of champagne, Christmas trees and toys, hangs on a wall in the Yermilov Center exhibition hall in Kharkiv. The legend on the picture wishes Bandera a “Happy birthday” and a “Happy New Year” – Bandera was born on Jan. 1.

Read the full story about the forum: “East Ukraine meets west at cultural festival in Kharkiv”

The portrait by a Lviv artist is one of many western Ukraine-themed paintings on display at the Pohran Cult – Galicia Cult cultural forum. The festival of around 80 events, exhibitions, performances, movie screenings, poem readings and lectures, running from Oct. 2-18, aims to introduce eastern Ukrainians to modern western-Ukrainian culture.

The event’s other aim is to challenge common stereotypes held about the west in the east, and vice versa. For instance, while some western Ukrainians consider Bandera a hero, eastern ones often think of him as a Nazi collaborator.
This is the third annual forum of this kind – the first two brought works by Donbas artists to Kyiv in 2014, and to Lviv in 2015.

This year, the forum traveled to Kharkiv, a city of 1.5 million citizens some 35 kilometers from the Russian border and 570 kilometers away from Kyiv. The previous event in Lviv brought in some 10,000 visitors, while the Kharkiv forum looks set to attract even more.

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