The project «Hunger» by the painter 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.
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.

The collected stories of hunger and cannibalism are plots in Yona's paintings. 

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«DAOO, Aikhenwald, L.I. To the casuistry of cannibalism. Notes of doctors of psychiatry about cannibalism. F. P-702, op. 1, case 102 a, l. 58–68.»

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».

 
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«BESSARABIA»

2010, 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».

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«SKETCH. DAOO, (Prosecutor's Office of Odesa), No. P-7716c. op. 1, case 411, l. 98», 2010, paper, acrylic / 10x15cm

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«DAOO, (Prosecutor's Office of Odesa), No. P-7716c. op. 1, case 411, l. 98»

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».

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«Fund No. P-470. Op. No. 1. Case 18»

2010, 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».

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«Fund No. P-470. Op. No. 1. Case 12»

2010, 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».

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«Fund No. P-470. Op. No. 1. Case 7»

2010, oil on canvas / 100x130cm

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«DAOO, F. P-702, op. 1, case 102 a, 13»

2010, 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».

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«Fund No. P-702. Op. No. 1. Case 102 a.»

2010, 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)».

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«THE "FIVE CLASSES’LAW»

2010, 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».

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«Fund No. P-470. Op. No. 1. Case 31»

2010, oil on canvas / 100x130cm

Portrait of Yona Tukuser

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«GARETH JONES»

2013, oil on canvas / 100x130cm

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«GARETH JONES»

https://www.garethjones.org/

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«PAWNS OF TRAGEDY IN UKRAINE»

2013, oil on canvas / 100x120cm

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«CHICAGO AMERICAN»

2013, 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».

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«Fund No. P-470. Op. No. 1. Case 9»

2013, oil on canvas / 100x130cm

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«Fund No. P-470. Op. No. 1. Case 19»

2013, oil on canvas / 100x130cm

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«A View from the 21st Century on a Document, № 1»

2013, oil on canvas / 90x120cm

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«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».

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«A View from the 21st Century on a Document, № 3»

2013, oil on canvas / 90x120cm​​

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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