Wars never happen ‘just like that’ or ‘out of the blue’. They are
the culmination of complex processes that span years and
sometimes even decades. In his art, Maxim Kantor has
addressed the threat embodied by the apparently seamless
transition from Soviet Union to the Russian Federation
and guided democracy, and his position has always been
unmistakeable: Vladimir Putin and the system that
produced him are, and always were, dangerous.
Now more than ever, choosing the right words matters,
and speaking them in situations where we would
rather be silent endows the statements we make with
a renewed and uncomfortable sense of moral and
political weight. Understanding the circumstances
that led to the Russian invasion of Ukraine requires a
thoughtful engagement with historical narratives and
the perspectives they present. Words are central to this
process. As we choose what to say and what not to say,
we contribute to the discourses that will shape the political
order of tomorrow.
The discussion will be centred around a selection of paintings
by Maxim Kantor, each illustrating or addressing themes or
aspects of the current war between the Russian Federation and
Ukraine and its impacts on human rights in Eastern Europe and
beyond. Students will prepare and present discussion questions.
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