The HUNGER project by the artist Yona Tukuser is comprised of a series of thematic paintings. The author reveals the tragedy of the immorality and degradation of humanity as after-effects of physical hunger leading to spiritual hunger. Hunger arouses the sleeping atavistic animal instincts in man. Under the influence of hunger people are not able to fight with their own instincts which lead them to an unnatural act in relation to other people. This can be followed throughout the history of mankind from Biblical times to the present day. Yona Tukuser as a Bessarabian Bulgarian born in Ukraine focuses on hunger which affected her compatriots during the general hunger in Ukraine. According to her, these are the some of the most dreadful pages from the history of the 20th century.

The HUNGER project is presented by curator Ionko Ivan, who are chair of the

Fondation For Image Synthesis. The concept of the Foundation to develop and present projects that make the synthesis between science and art.


An art that provokes scientific thought.



Participation of Yona Tukuser in a video-bridge at an international scientific conference "Famine 1946-1947: historical, philosophical, psychological and pedagogical aspects" dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the tragic events. Izmail State University of Humanities, May 18, Ukraine 2017

"By being the curator of Yona Tukuser's project, which aims to unite people through the subject of her work of art, “Hunger”, so that such sufferings, would no longer happen around  the world, I would also like to add that I would strongly support every scientific and historical initiative,related to the precise study of the problem. So let the specialists have the necessary courage to be politically correct when it comes to the wailing of the millions of people, dying from starvation. Their grief is still echoing in the consciousness of modern people, and strengthened further by the hearts of the younger generation of artists. The grumble sounds of hunger, coming from the past will still ring in the souls of the people in the future due to the power of contemporary art. It will always support those minds who are not afraid to tell the truth, sealed in the papers. The blatant facts can not be kept in  silence because of the politicians, who are even faking history to be able to sleep in peace. There is no point, hiding the truth about the genocide,that has been exercised by the political systems on man. Yona's paintings may inspire the historians with the necessary courage to tell the mankind the truth about the Holodomor that has happened in Bessarabia in the past. Her personality as a young artist will have the mission to unite the people in the future, and not to set off any new wars for political systems that are hiding their anti-human nature. The cause for this awful genocide lies in the communist system of government, which has made it possible not to seek any individual responsibility for the atrocities, committed by the regimes. Holodomor is an anonymous product of the system, called socialism, a conspiratorial type of experiment against humanity, sabotaging the progress,  based on  the suppression of the most important, human values, as the human right to exist, to have elementary normal living conditions (food, water, home, family, freedom of movement, the right to be informed, the right to work and normal working conditions, the freedom of speech)."


Ionko Ivan


oil on canvas / 90x120cm

"Two great Bulgarian diasporas existed on the territory of Ukraine: Bessarabia and Tauri." During the two Holodomors from 1921-1923 and from 1932-1933, about 30 000 Bulgarians have died in Tauri. By the beginning of the Second World War the Bulgarians in Bessarabia were within the boundaries of Romania.In the winter of 1946-1947 the Stalinist government organized Holodomor in Bessarabia, when more than 70,000 ethnic Bulgarians have died. As a result of the three Stalinist Holodomors about 100,000 Bulgarians have died in Bessarabia and Tauri."

Artistic quality of works, that Yona Tukuser showed in the series 'Hunger', is characterized by bright expression - painfully distorted forms inhabit part of the canvas. Yona Tukuser chooses the right way to impress – drives “sharp nails” in our eyes. Feeling the pain, seeing calamity, only then we become spiritually involved, experience peculiar catharsis. She poses the universal problems of hunger within the frames of the historic event in Bessarabia. She is Interested in the psychology of hunger and what it is able to awaken in the human being. The author presents all those negative aspects of the phenomenon, when she goes beyond physical hunger and changes the thinking, alters the mental status.

We can distinguish three series of works - the earliest created, when she thematically still makes a research, are more narrative. It’s the torn bodies, piled one on another, barely moving with the last remaining soul. They are on the borderline between life and death, they are both spirits and fragile bodies. They have bright color spots in pure color, which correspond and contrast with the complex range of colours in the bodies. They are the horsemen of death, racing in search of victims. In places we see some uncompleteness (like skatch) – as if in line with the spirits in the paintings, the author lives through their last mights.

"SKETCH", 2010

Paper, acrylic/10x15cm

"HOLE", 2010

oil on canvas / 90x120cm

"There were corpses, lying on the roads between the villages: people were just walking, falling and dying. The dead people were so many, and those of them who were still alive were so badly crippled that they just managed to bury their dead right in the garden or around the house. Whole families, streets, villages had died. In the villages they drove carts and gathered the corpses. Often, in order not to return to the same house again, the wagglers were loading the people who were sill alive in their carts, driving them and throwing them away, together with the dead."


oil on canvas / 90x120cm

"During the hunger period, I have driven the dead people on a sled: some of them were dead, some half dead, I took them to the graveyard and threw them over the other dead bodies.My soul was tearing when I heard the moans  of the half dead. There were several carts in the village that were gathering the dead. So in order not to return  to the same street, they were also taking those who were still showing certain signs of life but were already hopeless. "


oil on canvas / 90x130cm

"People collected the crops from the fields, kept the bread in their hands but they could not eat it. It was not only the gathering of grains on the fields that was forbidden, but even the women who were harvesting and tying bundles by hand were observed by guards while they worked who were watching that the harvesters would not even eat a few grains ... So this was not just a persecution of people but rather their physical destruction. "

"THE SEEKER", 2010

oil on canvas / 100x130cm

Another part of the works of Yona Tukuser go to clarifying of her artistic language and more colour expression - they act upon us as an abstraction, until we find the detail which together with the coated paint color, forms dead figure of a man. Here we can notice the complex colors, big shock brush, pasty application of the material. These are signs of physical experience in the process of drawing. In the canvas steal desperate cries, as if some element has grabbed the man – element, difficult to explain, invisible, without clear lines - it is more colour with a sense of pain.


oil on canvas / 100x130cm

"An elderly woman had brought some meat pies to the market. They were instantly sold out. From that day on, the woman was bringing meat pies every day. In large quantities. But it was not known where the flesh did come from as all horses, cats, rats were already eaten. So the police started to watch her. And they found that these pies were made with human meat. It turned out that the merchant was going to the graveyard, opening the carcasses and taking their lungs, hearts, etc. Many other cases of selling human meat were also found at that time. "

"MOTHER", 2010

oil on canvas / 100x130cm

"... So when we arrived, she was stuck in the corner, like a wild beast, vaguely murmuring something, and staring viciously. "Where is Petya, did he die?" Then the woman wildly screamed, and after that she was silent.  Then it suddenly flashed across their minds that the mother has actually done this evil  and opened the furnace. There they found a part of the baked body of the boy, as the rest she had already eaten ... The woman – cannibal was absently staring. The thoughts had already left this woman and only traces of severe grief and infinite loneliness were left on her face.This mother was already dead for life and life has also lost its’ meaning for her."


oil on canvas / 90x120cm

"In 1933, we in Poland have learned that Ukraine was overwhelmed by a terrible famine. And then the newspapers have also started to write on this issue. Committees have appeared that initiated the collecting of donations - money, food - to help the hungry. In Bulgaria too. As I did not have any money so I gave two sacks of grain. It was only later that it became clear that your government has refused our help, telling us that there was no hunger in Ukraine."


oil on canvas / 90x120cm

"When the bread began to ripen, people began to eat the young clams to quench the hunger and they were quickly dying from this. A young man who had eaten  a lot of green grain had immediately died in the field (as his belly has simply burst out)."

The third series of pictures can be defined as documents – black canvas with pictures, white text, just like keeping any statistics. They were born logically – in forming the exhibition – more information is needed as well as historical facts, archives, pictures. Ultimately, after death, the history people remain in the statistics. In these paintings are incorporated photographs, belonging to this time, they act upon people exactly with their conceptual understanding - Tukuser experiences the stories, she gets in touch to, exploring the theme. She draws children from the pictures, but they are now mere shadows of past life.

It is not an accident, that the expressionism arises during the war time, it must reflect those negative crucial years, that inhumanity, pain, hunger. Yona Tukuser creates a neo-expressionism, seeks to build a personal style, characterized by extremely picturesque sense and provocative, terrifying images. 
Yona Tukuser’s exhibition is a challenge before her - to create a dark, ominous environment where the main character is Death. Again, each canvas is more than a historical drama, it is touching the minor tones of life.


oil on canvas / 90x130cm

"On August 7, 1932, the Law on the Protection of the Property of the State Enterprises, the Cooperatives and the Strengthening of the Public Property was adopted, which was called by  the people the “Five Classes’ Law”. The socialist property was proclaimed as sacred and inviolable, and all those who dared to touch it immediately have received the status of "enemies of the people".


oil on canvas / 90x120cm

"Even the children were criminally responsible. Of course it was well known that the children were beaten to death still in the fields for the few grains they had found. But the guards would explain their actions by saying that they "had fought the robbers of the socialist governance". For stealing of the socialist property, the law envisaged shooting and confiscation of all property, or 5-10 years of imprisonment. In the early 1933, for a period of 5 months in accordance with this law, 55,000 people were sentenced, and 2100 of them were shot. "


oil on canvas / 100x130cm

"In order to find the currency for buying import equipment, necessary for the factories and the plants, in the early 1930s, the Stalin's decree has arrived for selling a significant portion of the harvest that had to be obtained from the country's fields. Then the terrible hunger has followed. The peasants were punished to work without any money on the fields. And if some of them were trying to talk about hunger – they were immediately convicted."


oil on canvas / 90x120cm

"In his memoirs (1967-1971), N.S.Khrushchev has written: "I saw a terrible picture. A woman was cutting in pieces the body of her child, lying on the table and saying," Malanka, we have eaten already. We will now salt down Ivan, and so we will survive for a while. "Can you imagine all this? This woman had gone crazy from hunger and she was cutting her children in pieces! So I shared all this with Stalin, but thus I only managed to provoke his anger, "You are a real jellyfish! They are just lying to you and they are deliberately telling you this to make you spend all your reserves."

"A View from the 21st Century on a Document,№ 1", 2013

oil on canvas / 90x120cm

"A View from the 21st Century on a Document,№ 2", 2013

oil on canvas / 90x120cm

"According to the testimonies, provided by the eyewitnesses, in some regions of Ukraine, where thousands of people were dying of hunger every day, the alcohol factories were working at their almost full capacity, processing the precious grains for vodka. Thus, the Stalinist regime has obtained the necessary, additional resources to carry out the process of industrialization."

"A View from the 21st Century on a Document, № 3", 2013

oil on canvas / 90x120cm

"The famine was killing slowly and cruelly. People were walking down the streets, reminding characters from the slow motion cinema. They were walking aimlessly, not seeing anyone. They were falling. Some of them were getting up and others were falling and dying. And very often the dying people were going  to the cemetery by their last efforts only to die there: they were doing this as they were actually afraid that there was no one to send them away on their last trip."

The Red House Centre for Culture and Debate, Център за култура и дебат Червената къща
FOUNDATION FOR IMAGE SYNTHESIS, фондация за изобразителен синтез
prista oil



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