This year, Columbia University Press published a book about the Maidan Museum by Giovanni Ercolani, Ph.D. at the Department of Political Science, Social Anthropology and Public Finance at the University of Murcia (Spain).
"The Maidan Museum: Preserving the Spirit of the Maidan" is a work about the mission of the Maidan Museum and the art created during the Revolution of Dignity. The author describes the events of 2013-2014 that changed the modern history of Ukraine.
From November 2013 to February 2014, Dr. Giovanni Ercolani observed the events of the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. The researcher was interested in the nature of the Ukrainians' struggle against the pro-Russian regime of fugitive former President Viktor Yanukovych. Two years later, in 2016, Dr. Ercolani came to Kyiv for the first time and learned about the newly created Museum of the Revolution of Dignity.
Dr. Ercolani used the collection and academic works of the Maidan Museum as a research base. While working on the book together with the Museum team, the researcher recorded interviews with artists who were active participants in the revolutionary events: Taras Kompanichenko, Oles Kromplias, Oleksandr Melnyk, Tetiana Cheprasova, Ivan Semesiuk, Oleksandr Komiakhov, Iryna Klishchevska, and others.
"The purpose of the book is to convey to the reader the emotions and experiences of my interviewees, artists who participated in the Revolution of Dignity. Their works were inspired by the dramatic events. Maidan gave rise to a postcolonial discourse, a new apolitical ideology based on the concepts of dignity and Ukrainianness; it generated symbols, social myths and collective imagination and evoked the spirit of the Maidan that changed the consciousness of the protesters," says Dr. Giovanni Ercolani.
In 2019, Dr. Ercolani traveled to Kyiv and studied the art created during the Revolution of Dignity and the specifics of the Museum's mission at the Maidan Museum. The researcher focused on one of the most important impulses of the Maidan: the realization of culture as a factor that determines the existence of a nation. This understanding helps view the current Russian-Ukrainian war as a war of cultures and a war for culture. Giovanni Ercolani studied the spirit of the Maidan, embodied in works of art inspired by the revolutionary events:
"I want to make it clear to the reader that there was spirituality in this creative process and that the artists worked on the symbols that were already present in the Ukrainian DNA before the events of the Maidan; the artists created the symbols of the Maidan through the processes of meaning-making, mythologizing, canonizing, sacralizing, and interpellating."
The researcher believes that the Maidan became a kind of rite of passage for new Ukrainian identity, and the history of those events has the potential to transform into a nation-building myth. In addition, the Maidan gave rise to a unique artistic heritage that has become part of the world's historical heritage. The Maidan Museum currently stores the largest collection of creative masterpieces from Maidan.
In this book, the Maidan Museum is a unique and original structure that preserves all the elements of the "Maidanization process", and the guardian of the spirit of the Maidan, playing a role in defining Ukrainian and post-Maidan identity based on national memory, culture, experience and consciousness activated and revived during the events of the Revolution of Dignity.
Freedom is the main value. According to the author, this realization, fully formed during the Revolution of Dignity, gives Ukrainians the strength to resist the Russian occupiers today.
Giovanni Ercolani's book is available in English.
You can read the book in the Library of the Maidan Museum.
Please register before your visit: https://forms.gle/ogsoQV36DnQB3Lj59
We thank the author and a friend of the Maidan Museum Giovanni Ercolani for researching and popularizing modern Ukrainian history!