An Instagram account casts a new eye on Ukraine’s striking Soviet mosaics

An Instagram account casts a new eye on Ukraine’s striking Soviet mosaics

17 June 2020

Discover late Soviet-era mosaics from 500 towns and villages across Ukraine with Instagram account @ukrainianmosaics.

Shot and curated by photographer Yevgen Nikiforov, the account features mosaics made from the 1960s to the 1980s, often depicting workers in factories, fields, or at rest.

Made from ceramic, cobalt, stones, or cement, the mosaics sometimes also subverted rather puritan Soviet attitudes, boldly displaying the curves and lines of idealised male and female bodies.

“Despite being envisioned as decorations for public spaces, these artworks were hardly ever really seen, as residents never recognised their artistic merit,” says Nikiforov, who spent seven years documenting the mosaics. “Because they were state-commissioned propaganda, they were deemed not worthy of attention. The USSR did not develop public space as such, lacking the basic freedoms to buttress it: freedom of assembly, protest, and self-expression. But I want to present [the mosaics] clean of the intrusive visual noise of post-Soviet cities that never quite got over their gung-ho capitalism.”

You can get the photo books here.

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