Resistance also passes through the hall of a disco, a struggle without weapons but with music, against cheat. The queer resistance of young Ukrainians in the photographs of Arthur Vovchenko
Text by Anya Lukash
Images by Artur Vovchenko
Hi, I am Artur, and I am a photographer in Kiev, Ukraine.
The world of clubs, in which I worked for years, had disappeared following the outbreak of war. But today life – that thing that seemed to have slumbered in this corner of the earth, forgotten by its inhabitants – has been reawakened by a new wave of parties.
There is an unspeakable suffering, which cannot easily be stifled, an intolerable suffering for our souls, which oppresses our youth. Yet we must learn to cross the darkness, to regain our freedom and independence, despite the deep noise of bombs.
It is no longer necessary to do so at night, when the curfew renders the city streets mute and lonely. Our resilience now takes shape in daylight, it is in the public eye until eleven o’clock at night. The festivals also take the form of a new form of solidarity: the funds collected, sometimes the entire earnings, are given to charity to help the Ukrainian people in the harshness of these times.
As a photographer, I wanted to capture the courage that hovers over our bodies. These shots taken during a queer festival, STEZHKA – which indicates the tortuous path we walk – give a different look at those who are facing war. They show the indestructible spirit of the Ukrainian LGBTQQIA+ Community. They show how strong and courageous we can be. They show that nothing can stop us.
We can still dance, kiss, and shout our resilience to the world.
The historical moment calls for a new fight for freedom, a renewed sacrifice so that everyone in this country can maintain their right to expression, their visibility.
Here are these images, here is our implacable thirst.
Glory to Ukraine, glory to the armed forces of Ukraine.