"I'm afraid of something in the house" – the results of the lecture by literary critic Tetiana Kononchuk

6 February 2019

Exactly this quote from Oles Gonchar’s novel, “Man and Weapon”, was one of the first references to Holodomor in literature. Researcher on the topic of Holodomor in Literature and Fine Arts, Professor Tetiana Kononchuk, read on February 6, 2019, a lecture in the museum, in which she described and clearly illustrated the visual and verbal aspects of Holodomor in the Ukrainian art.

The folk art, “transformation of the testimonies of people who survived”, reacted the very first to the Holodomor tragedy. So there were proverbs, sayings, crying, where in one way or another was the topic of hunger or the lack of bread and the associated death that was passed on to generations in families. Folklore naturally reacts faster to historical upheavals, but this is due to the impossibility of censoring oral folk art. Quite differently, it consisted of literary art.

So, the first open memories of Holodomor in the form of literary works began at the time of the Perestroika (late 1980s). Of course, writers wrote about Holodomor before, but in the form of hints, let’s compare: “I’m afraid of something in the      house,” – says one peasant to another in the aforementioned Gonchar novel, and “A lot of orphans appeared here” – Yurii Yanovskyi wrote in the post-war novel “Peace (Live Water )”. The fact of Holodomor, which could not be mentioned publicly, is hidden behind this Why.

In addition to literary incarnations, the researcher also described painting, in particular the topic of Holodomor in artists’ works of Nina Marchenko, Hryhorii Pevnyi and Valerii Franchuk, and about the history of memorials and its sculptors in Kyiv.

Literary critic ended the lecture with their own family stories about the terrible years of 1932-33, which were kept in the family and passed on from generation to generation. It gave impetus to listeners to remember that their families also have similar, forgotten, but deeply saved, stories.

The lecture was attended by historians from the Taurida National University named after V. I. Vernadskyi and numerous visitors interested in the museum. We express our gratitude to the lecturer for the cognitive lecture and we wish her enthusiasm for further research of the topic!

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