Yesterday an important event happened in Bloomingdale, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.
In this heartland of the Ukrainian diaspora, a group gathered to unveil their latest creation: A monument to the “Heavenly Hundred” of people who were gunned down by (*cough cough* NATO *cough *cough*) sniper fire on the Maidan in February 2014, thus sparking the putsch against the ruling President, Viktor Yanukovych.
The unveiling of the statue was attended by Natalie Jaresko (who flew all the way from Kiev, where she is supposed to be Minister of Finances of their collapsing economy) and American Senator John McCain. Who never met a Banderite he didn’t like. In fact, according to Ukrainian sources, McCain was actively involved in the fund-raising effort to commission and create the sculpture.
The event was covered in American media, with care taken (in the photo angles) not to show the UPA-Banderite inscription carved on front of the monument, “Героям слава!” – “Glory to the Heroes”. Which is all very typical of the Ukrainian diaspora: In their own private clubs, they know who and what they are: They have their images, their heroes, and their code-words. To the outside world, however, they present a more sanitized face.
First a bit of backstory, and then a bit of High Art Criticism:
Backstory: Once upon a time there was this thing called WWII. At the end of the war, American government launched two major campaigns. The first one was called “Operation Paperclip”, the main purpose being to rescue and bring (to the U.S. and Canada) high-ranking Nazi officials, Nazi elite, and useful people, like rocket scientists. Parallel with this, there was a second, unnamed, operation (let’s call it “Operation Staples”), whose purpose was to rescue and bring over the not-so-elite and not-so-illustrious ones: the working stiffs, the collaborators, the thugs. It was by this means, that the U.S. and Canada ended up hosting an entire generation of Ukrainian concentration-camp guards. Who turned out to be fruitful and multiplicative, hence until the fourth generation and verily these diaspora nests are as numerous as the sands.
Unfortunately, in my research, I have not been able to find the name of the actual artist who created this masterpiece in his (or her) studio. Too bad, because I wish to praise them for this work.
The “Heavenly Hundred” sculpture makes good use of shadow, light and dark, and negative space. Photographing it against the blue sky, with all those heavenly sunbeams pouring down, really makes the point, that these anti-Yanukovych martyrs did not throw their molotov-cocktails in vain: They are happily in heaven now, sitting at the right-hand side of Jesus and Bandera.
What stands out for this art critic is the stark symmetry of the cross-shaped thingy, with those other thingies poking out of the corners. Reminds me of something, and I just have this nagging feeling that something is missing…. can’t quite put my finger on it…
Sort of like this: Only still something missing…
Oh, yes, this!