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קול קורא // לכנס: הרחבת הגבולות. המורשת האמנותית היהודית של אוקראינה [חרקיב 04/24] דדליין=15.12.23

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CfP: Expanding the Boundaries: Jewish Artistic Heritage of Ukraine

(Kharkiv, Ukraine, April 9–10, 2024)

The conference is supported by the European Association for Jewish Studies.

The Ukrainian Association for Jewish Studies is announcing an international conference dedicated to understanding Jewish art and the artistic heritage originating from Ukraine in broader historical, cultural, and artistic contexts.

Over the years, Jewish traditional and modern culture associated with the territory of present-day Ukraine has been shaped by various political and cultural conditions. Ashkenazi Jews, Krymchaks, and Karaites lived here and left a distinctive cultural and artistic legacy.

Along with religious there was also secular Jewish life, both of which found expression in art. The artistic achievements of the Jews of Ukraine – in all their diversity of genres, schools, groups, and personalities – were created, over time, in the frameworks of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Austro-Hungarian, Russian, and Ottoman Empires, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, and finally, since 1991, in independent Ukraine. Now they are perceived as a part of Ukraine’s multicultural heritage.

This perspective leads us to undertake two tasks. The first is the desire to recreate the history of Jewish art in Ukraine by studying the emergence, development, and spread of Jewish artistic culture within the modern borders of Ukraine. In the twentieth century, this culture suffered catastrophic losses. The very memory of the life and culture of millions of local Jews was erased layer by layer. Many art objects from Ukraine are in museums around the world. The inclusion of this complex in scholarly discourse will bring back to Ukrainians the memory of the historical presence of Jews in the multicultural space of their country.

The second task is to consider the problem of protecting Jewish heritage from destruction. It is impossible to prevent missile attacks and artillery shelling in the frontline zone and looting in the occupied territories. The impossibility to provide physical protection prompts us to look for other ways to preserve our heritage. We are talking about recording, attribution, inclusion in the narrative, and presentation of art objects both by traditional means and with the help of the new media. Researching threatened or already lost artistic works and phenomena in museums, libraries, and archival collections will help preserve the memory of Jewish artifacts and their provenances.


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Kharkiv, Ukraine
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