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"WORSE THAT WAR IS HUNGER,
WORSE THAT HUNGER IS

LACK OF LOVE", - Yona

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"A BOY WITH A DEAD HORSE",

Yona, 2022,

size 120 x 400 cm, oil on canvas.

"One boy's parents starved to death (1947); and the boy went hungry to the dump; and people have seen him hauling up with a hook the stinking, decaying body of a dead animal. And a man took this child to himself and did not allow him to eat from the dead animal. This child was raised by this person and survived". 

Story told by V.I.Tutova (born 1925), Glavan, Ukraine.

April 29, 2018.

The painting was created during the War in Ukraine /April - May 2022/ in studio kindly provided

by Nu Image, in the NU BOYANA Film Studios, 

Sofia, Bulgaria.

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„I was so hungry that I ate my friend's toy“ -

Ilia, 6 years old. Yona, 2022

 size 135 x 200 cm, oil on canvas

 

And then he remembered, he remembered even that which would be better not to remember. How he hid in the basements from the bombing. How afraid he was to ask strangers to go to the toilet. How he was so hungry that he ate another boy's toy. He even knew that his mother was no more. He said this simply: „My mother went to the bridge, the bridge was blown up, she died.

The story told by Maria about Ilia from Mariupol,

Ukraine, 2022

 

The painting was created during the War in Ukraine /June -September 2022/ in studio kindly provided

by Nu Image, in the NU BOYANA Film Studios, 

Sofia, Bulgaria.

       PROJECT "HUNGER"       

WHO?
One of the pioneers of the Metamodernist movement, painter Yona tackles the social theme associated with the problems of hunger in the modern world within her interdisciplinary project "HUNGER".

WHEN?
Since 2009 Yona has been studying historical materials on the famine in Ukraine and the Soviet Union from the period 1921-1923, 1932-1933, 1946-1947, using an academic approach in selecting sources of information from archives and personal interviews with living witnesses who survived the famine. 

HOW?
The project "HUNGER" uses a metamodern method of research with scientific and artistic techniques, which serves as a basis for the connection between the disciplines of science and fine art. The synthesis of art and science creates an opportunity for the work of art to be engaged in a debate concerning a more detailed disclosure of the past that reflects in the present. 

WHAT?
The results of the study  on the subject and newly discovered documentary sources are used to recreate the Soviet famine in Ukraine in the form of metamodern historical paintings.

 

Both the texts and the visual images of the famine in the paintings are complex documents with their own history of creation. They do not simply "illustrate" the famine, but are part of its history of representation and cultural significance.


Images within Yona's paintings shed light on the tragic consequences of the famine since the 20th century. The emotional artistic expression in the paintings is a means of deep penetration into the atmosphere of abused human dignity. 

WHY?

The project "HUNGER" helps to recognize that the modern world has become hostage to the unpunished crimes of Soviet totalitarianism, in particular the repressive anti-peasant happenings that contributed to the mass starvation of the population during the 20th century.


“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” - this thought belonging to the philosopher George Santayana should sound like an alarm, the strength of which would be amplified by the  historical paintings that are part of the "Hunger" project.


The grinding sounds of hunger coming from the past shall still ring in the souls of the people in the present and the future, through the power of Contemporary Art. 

 

The painter appeals: Let the suffering of the people serve to unite us, not to divide and cause enmity.

 

cannibalism, hunger, yonatukuser, ukraine

PAINTINGS
2010 - 2013

The project «Hunger» by the painter Yona is comprised of a series of thematic paintings inspired by documents. In 2009 Yona began studying historical materials on the famine in Ukraine and the USSR in the period 1946-1947, using an academic approach in selecting sources of information from archives and personal interviews with living witnesses who survived the famine. ... 

cannibalism, hunger, yonatukuser, ukraine

ANTHROPOPHAGE
Released 7 May 2021

​«Anthropophage» is concept music album by Yona, featuring trembling electronic sound improvisations created in Rome from 2016 to 2021. Sounds recreating the terrifying atmosphere of Anthropophage - Sounds of Inanition Hunger Delirium. ...

cannibalism, hunger, yonatukuser, ukraine

SCIENTIFIC PAPER
November 2020

Institute for Historical Studies - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences published a scientific paper of Yona Tukuser - «Projection of a Metamodern Method for the Study of the Famine in Bessarabia in 1946-1947 Reflected in Historical Painting» in the magazine «Istoricheski Pregled». ... 

    DOCUMENTARY "HUNGER"      

In May 2018, Yona started the shooting of the documentary "Hunger" in a number of villages in Ukraine, presenting personal stories of starvation and cannibalism in the Odessa region in Ukraine in 1946-1947.

Hunger suppresses the unconditional reflex in people who have reached cannibalism. This characterizes the historical periods of social transformations, wars, epidemics.

The bark of social forms of behavior is destroyed, the fire of biological impulses erupts and instead of a cultural socius, you see a wild animal, completely unlike a cultural being.

Documentary video footage, 2018 ©Yona

" - My relatives stabbed my aunt during a hunger and boiled her for jellied meat and took her to sell to the market.
- Someone ate children?
- Ate, of course! They stabbed their children and ate ... ate ... What should they do if there is no food? Dies of hunger ... goes through it all ... stabs his child, kills him and eats him. It was awful! Let's never see that in our lives.
Look, what happened: Romania left - Russia came, Russia left - Romania came. And we do not know under whose authority we are. And we have nothing. They took everything: grain ... everything. And this year (1946) there was a bad harvest. And the end ... The people are dying of hunger.
People were all swollen ... and ate each other ...".
A.D. Dimitrova (born 1935), Vinogradnoe, 
Ukraine. May 21, 2018

Documentary video footage, 2018 ©Yona

"- You have not seen hunger! ... and I remember during the hunger ... what happened, and that's why I cry.
- "Give me a shoe!"
- "Get out! We ourselves are dying of hunger, what can I give you?"
Father felt pity : "Zina, go into the pantry, take the shoe in the niche, give one shoe, let her bake". I'm going to the pantry ... I give her one shoe, so that she would bake ... We also baked shoes. We scraped them off with a knife well ... and crunched them and ate ...


- Ate people, ate ...
We went in ...  she put her children in the oven ... to bake two small children.

While Russia was ...
Is this Stalin ... Stalin taxed us: milk, eggs, meat ...
And then he took our grain.
Stalin did everything.
Now they want to remember the the times of Stalin.
What will we remember the times of Stalin? They were no good! At all!

At that time I was a girl. I can't get married. I have to give the state 300 kg of meat. The houses were taxed: meat, eggs ...
Well, I had to pay a tax of 300 kg of meat, and then I could get married.
Eeee ... what was, what was ...
It was scary ... that's why I'm crying ... that's why ... I'm afraid of hunger already ... Take care of the grain! You don't know what will happen! This time will come and what will you do then?

- The hunger ... the hunger was terrible!
- Is hunger worse than war? 

Ha ha ... [ironic laughter]."
Z.I. Nikolova (born 1929), Orehovka, Ukraine. May 12, 2018

   The project is supported:   

Ambassador