Mariupol Activists Counter Russia’s War Through Art

April 26, 2021

In the past few years, the frontline city of Mariupol has seen a cultural rebirth.

Not least thanks to the TU art platform. United by the impact of war, TU’s director Diana Berg and her team of activists are countering the suffering of war through art initiatives.

In 2014, Diana was forced to flee Russia’s invasion of Donetsk but could not stay indifferent.

Having relocated closer to home, she and her friends decided to fill the cultural gaps in the fragile city of Mariupol.

Today, they host cultural events and implement their own projects.

TU is a safe space for all, Diana says, well-known for bringing up sensitive human rights issues through modern art.

“Everything that works for developing culture works against war- and that is our motto. This is what we do: we just promote human rights but not in an in-your-face kind of way”.

In their conservative and polarized society, TU speaks about painful topics such as gender-based violence, women’s, LGBTQ+ rights.

Many find them provocative, so this activism is only possible if one is creative, Diana says.

Despite regular threats, she is not afraid. Diana gets motivation from small steps that bring big results.

Author: Iryna Matviyishyn

The material was prepared with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation within the framework of the project Stories from Ukraine. The material reflects the position of the authors and does not necessarily coincide with the position of the International Renaissance Foundation.

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