THE END OF HISTORY

CompanyFreelancer (Zoya Shu Photography)
PhotographerZoya Shu
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

THE END OF HISTORY "A nation that forgets its past has no future". Winston Churchill Dozens of outstanding historical buildings are in decay in Kyiv, Ukraine. The official designation of “architectural memorial” hasn't prevented them from being sold through dubious legal schemes. Despite the remarkable history that stands behind them, these architectural and historical gems remain abandoned and are left for slow destruction to make way for new, commercially profitable construction. The city’s residents make attempts, but can do little to preserve Kyiv’s historical look, all the while witness to the slow and continuous agony of the city they love. The inevitable development of a city needn't necessarily be a reason to wipe away the important history embodied in its extant architecture. There are many examples of the successful preservation of historical buildings around the world. This isn't the case in the struggling post-Soviet republic still finding its way towards defining its own identity.

Story

THE END OF HISTORY "A nation that forgets its past has no future". Winston Churchill A number of outstanding historical buildings are in decay in Kyiv, Ukraine. The official designation of “architectural memorial” has not prevented them from being sold through dubious legal schemes. Despite the remarkable history that stands behind them, these architectural and historical gems remain abandoned and are left for slow destruction to make way for new, commercially profitable construction. The city’s residents make attempts, but can do little to preserve Kyiv’s historical look, all the while witness to the slow and continuous agony of the city they love. The inevitable development of a city need not necessarily be a reason to wipe away the important history embodied in its extant architecture. There are many examples of the successful preservation of historical buildings around the world. However, this is not the case in the struggling post-Soviet republic, which is still finding its way towards defining its own identity. Dozens of derelict and abandoned century-old buildings hide away in the yards or stand exposed to the busy streets of downtown Kyiv. They are like spirits of the past anticipating their ultimate demise in silent reproach. The secrets hidden from passersby in these empty buildings are significant for more than just the locals. The past of Kyiv is full of events and individuals that made a considerable impact on humanity’s development. 19 Yaroslaviv Val street is where Igor Sikorsky grew up and invented the helicopter. The first helicopter trials were carried out in the yard of this building. Presently it is owned by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The sign identifying it as an architectural monument was stolen for scrap metal. 12 Kotsiubinskoho street is the address of the first private school in Kyiv. It was attended by a number of prominent individuals, such as Vladimir Horowits, a Kyiv-born American classical pianist and composer; Alexander Archipenko, a Ukrainian-born American avant-garde artist, sculptor, and graphic artist; Boris Balinsky, a pioneer researcher in the field of experimental embryology and electron microscopy; and a number of other prominent people. At the moment its windows are boarded up, the building abandoned. The building at 22 Reitarska street is the first urgent-care hospital in Kyiv. Here Nikolai Amosov performed heart surgery under general anaesthetic for the first time in the USSR. The building belongs to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and has been left for slow destruction. Old buildings at Alla Tarasova street stand next to a newly built hotel. Its construction ultimately damaged a nearby art nouveau house, which is no longer there. Another art nouveau house stands at 32 Mala Zhitomirska street and is known for its unusual decor. There is a sign proclaiming it an “architectural memorial, protected by the state”, but the enormous advertisement on the wall announces its sale as a private property. The land that dozens of similar historic buildings stand on costs millions of dollars. Commercial interest always outweighs the historic and cultural value.

About Photographer

I am a Ukrainian. I hold a Master Degree in International Relations, according to my diploma I am a foreign policy expert and interpreter of two foreign languages. I consider photography a universal language understood by everyone. It has been my passion since early years. And while it is not my main job (I decided not to count on it in making a living to leave space for creativity), I have been doing it at a professional level for many years. For me it is a way and a tool to inspire people or to draw attention to issues I consider important. In 2011-2014 I photographed for various agencies. When the war started in Ukraine in 2014 I realized I could not go on with photojournalism and proceed to conflict photography due to personal reasons. In my latest project "The end of history" I experiment attempting blend fine art and documentary photography. Exhibitions: Oct 2016 - Jan 2017: participant of the exhibition dedicated to Beethoven "LE MYTHE BEETHOVEN" in the Museum of Music in Paris 2012 - Istanbul Photo Contest 2012 - Ukrainian Art Week 2011 - Art Week in Berlin (days of Slavic art in Berlin), publication in catalog "New faces in art" 2010 - Ukrainian Art Week Got a number of various awards. I attended a number of lectures of prominent photographers and also took brief courses: 2013 Foundry Photojournalism Workshop, multimedia class (Bosnia and Herzegovina) 2013 Multimedia course in Victor Marushchenko School (Ukraine) 2012 Photography course in Wake Community College (USA)