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New exhibit looks at war in Ukraine on anniversary of invasion

As the war in Ukraine approaches the start of a third year, Edmontonians are being invited to reflect on the devastation of the war as it wages on.

Saturday is the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale attack on Ukraine, which has killed tens of thousands of Ukrainians.

The Alberta Council for Ukrainian Arts is opening a new photography exhibit to mark the grim milestone.

Moments from the Battleground – the Photographs of Maxim Dondyuk offers a glimpse of the conflict on the ground in Ukraine.

From soldiers and displaced residents to cities and towns in ruin, the exhibit highlights the impact of the fighting on the people and places of Ukraine, as well as the community’s resistance.

“It’s a mixture of sadness and tragedy,” said local photographer Paul Swanson, who worked closely with Dondyuk to curate the show.

Swanson has a personal connection with the exhibit, as his family immigrated from Ukraine years ago.

The show is designed to be a call to action, and Swanson hopes the images help viewers connect personally with the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

”Numbers are one thing, but to be able to tie it in with something that you can sort of visually chew through and understand is a great next step,” he said.

For Ukrainians who fled the war, the images remain fresh in their minds.

Natalia Vynohdradova moved to Edmonton last year. She vividly remembers the first days of the invasion.

“Just panic,” she said. “We don’t know what we should do, where we should [go].

“Kids start crying, my son asks me, “Mom, we all die?'”

Vynohdradova said the war’s anniversary will be hard for people who have lost loved ones, and it’s a reminder that fighting is not over.

“Remind [the] whole world that war in Ukraine still there, and still people are going to die,” she added.

The exhibit will be available online and in person at the Alberta Council for Ukrainian Arts gallery.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council will be holding a rally at Violet King Henry Plaza Saturday at 5 p.m. to reflect on the war and offer a prayer for peace.

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