Do we need mothers to usurp the male killing machine?

Olivia-Anne Primmer

Elena Subach and Zhanna Kadyrova remind viewers of home and how genealogy can build a sense of belonging. They explore humanity in its ‘absence’, challenging the disruptive effects of the sublime to resist male power. What does it mean to document a war away from the battlefield?

Elena Subach, ‘Grandmothers on the Edge of Heaven’, 2019
Elena Subach, ‘Grandmothers on the Edge of Heaven’, 2019

Grandmothers set the standard for longevity and are key to our survival1. Elena Subach was inspired by the idea that we inherit evolutionary benefits from our matriarchs, such as “cooperation, pair bonding, and bigger brains”2. Her photographic series, Grandmothers on the Edge of Heaven (2019), was intended to be about the elderly women of Ukraine, their limited pensions, and their ability to overcome adversity. There was a disconnect, a struggle in imparting wisdom and sharing faith between generations. Their fight for relevance has elapsed into an urgent plea to preserve Ukrainian culture on a global centre-stage. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukrainians are overwhelmed by the fear of erasure. It is not just a generational struggle, as the artist suggests3, but the physical erasure of national identity.   .

To Elena, their ageing bodies are a testament to their sacrifice. While steeped in vibrance and the hope for a better future, it is hard to ignore Subach’s reference to wilting bodies as figures of the vanitas tradition. She evokes ‘memento mori’ (a Latin trope that reminds us of death) in her still life renderings, particularly in the series’ altarpiece, which Elena dedicates to her dearly departed grandmother. Her Ukrainian dishes are glorified, almost as if placed under the feet of God himself. But this offering is also prone to decomposing, and shows that life is transient, like the fresh blooms in her Garden of Eden. Grandmothers shows not only the “vanities of contemporary Ukraine”4, but their fragility5. She not only captures their bodies, but absorbs their testimonies, liturgical practices and daily lives.

Elena Subach, ‘Grandmother’s on the Edge of Heaven’, 2019.
Elena Subach, ‘Grandmother’s on the Edge of Heaven’, 2019.

While her proto-Renaissance style is striking, it loses colour in conflict. Subach harboured a desire to choreograph images, wishing to instil “magic” in every photograph6. However, her practice shifted dramatically. In the First Two Weeks of the War (2022), Elena approached themes of suffering with heightened sensitivity, shifting her lens away from bodies in battle. Instead of wilting flowers and melting candelabras, she conveys an emptiness that can only be described through absence. No longer able to represent people, she represents them in the objects they leave behind:

In a deeply personal way, I could hardly photograph people myself, as I could not dare to interfere in their already fragile and ruined private space, although I understood the historicity and importance of the moment … I only managed to take a number of still life photos. I photographed chairs with the objects left on them, since they seemed to me like islands among waves of people7.

Elena Subach, ‘Chairs,’ 2022. Slovak Border crossing in Uzhgorod.

Subach’s skill with the shutter does not define her art. When Russian forces infiltrated the Donbas region, thousands fled. Her photos, taken on the Slovak Border, are compelling in their authenticity. However, her still life snaps are nonetheless surreal. Rather than fleeing to Poland, the artist and her husband provided aid to people escaping their bombed-out cities8. Exposed to the elements and waiting in line for days, she offered them whatever support she could. She marks the ‘flow of refugees’ in her work, analogising this experience to ‘waves’: people come to pass, rest along the shore, and then disappear into the horizon. Women, children, and the elderly cross, but men of fighting age are forced to stay. This led to fateful goodbyes, with families sharing (what could be) their last meal. She longs for their safe return. Fathers take photos of their wives and children to keep as mementos9. The artist is confronted by immense love, and also unimaginable pain10. Although wistful, she could not bring herself to capitalise on their suffering. Through the act of transference, she manages to capture chairs as “witnesses” to the war11.

Susan Sontag refers to our macabre fascination with bloodshed, saying, ‘if it bleeds, it leads’12. With a new cold war, we are confronted by the burden of proof, of suffering. Buzz words such as attack – escalate – unleash – seize – on the brink – blood – accountable – make their mark. A photo of a Ukrainian teacher marred by an airstrike makes the front pages. We do not need to see this photo to remember it…Our twitter feeds and television screens are on a perpetual loop of a country in despair.

Elena Subach, ‘Hidden / CXOBAHE’, Besides Press, Launched October 15.

Subach compels us to visualise war beyond the frame. Her evolving response reflects the artworld’s imperative to preserve cultural artefacts. This saw a resurgence of documentary-style images, a format widely criticised for disarming our emotions through repeated exposure. Subach seems to align herself with Sontag, she is acutely aware of how the tragic loss of life can be twisted into political propaganda. This is why she chooses to omit death from her images. Her photobook, Hidden (2022), provides an unaltered glimpse of the Angels of the Lviv13: ancestors that watch over the city and are in need of our protection. They are wrapped up, hidden, much like Ukrainian bodies in hiding, or in their death shrouds. Hiding away artefacts is a gentle euphemism for stowaways, tucked in underground shelters. It is arguably more stirring than the influx of images of immigrating hordes14 straddling the border.

The artist converses with an editor of an online magazine about what home15 means. She talks to the displaced on the streets, listening to their stories. Home to them is associated with memory. It is not just where they live, but the “lover’s lanes, cemeteries, churches, and landscapes” that recall childhood naivety16. Since her work could not touch the faces of museum patrons, she reaches ours at home and abroad. She ensures that their personal tragedies are remembered. As an online community, we feel and lament this loss together.

Monument to the soldiers of the First Cavalry Army near Olesko, Lviv oblast, Ukraine. Made from expensive copper, it has been gradually dismantled by locals for sale.
Demolished part of the sculptural group in Zaporizhia, Ukraine. Temporary stored on the premises of a municipal service company in Zaporizhia after it was removed from the city centre.
Yevgen Nikiforov, ‘On Republic’s Monuments’ (2014-2021)

Yevgen Nikiforov is also aware of the power of images. Yevgen, a freelance photographer, felt compelled to archive unfolding landscapes, long before the first missile. On Republic’s Monuments (2014-2021) shows statues stripped of their Soviet status, icons removed to reflect the country’s dis-ease. We see a careful curation of the national image, starting with monuments. This wave of activism, known as ‘Leninfall’, pushed symbolic leaders off their pedestals, the escapades broadcasted online. The aim was to rid Ukraine of all “USSR-related imagery”17, pushing for Russian Revolutionaries to be dethroned. The conflict between the so-called brother nations began with the annexation of Crimea in 2014. I do say brotherhood tentatively, as it is a fallacy that promulgates proponents of Russian imperialism. Thus, we see a correction, a “Ukrainization” of history. Nikiforov presents the war hero as an iconoclast, a destroyer of images. He documents the severing of ties with their toxic big brother. The artist grapples with the fact they have not yet found a way to “work with” the past and reconcile with it18.

As the war escalates, everything is at stake. Subach’s city, Lviv, faces destruction. Icons in the public space are put in jeopardy. Statues are removed, and art conservators work at the helm to save the nation’s heritage. While Nikiforov tries to unearth the hidden agendas of official political memory, Subach realises that censorship is necessary for the survival of culture19.

Elena Subach, ‘Hidden’, 2022, undisclosed location
Elena Subach, ‘Hidden’, 2022, undisclosed location

Subach’s lens is purely archival. She captures the identity of glorified “saints” with “forensic detail”, safeguarding their location20. The background of her images are blacked out, redacted. And so, the landscape is reformed21 once again. The nation’s history is held together (precariously) with packing tape and bubble wrap. It would have been difficult for her to see old, ruinous churches engulfed in scaffolding, since her grandfather painted religious icons. It is clear from Subach’s fascination with Christian iconography that she internalised the value of these figures.

Putin assumes the Hegelian dialectic of “negation as creation”22, as he denies Ukraine’s existence altogether. Since the invasion, Russian publishers have purged any mention of Ukrainian authors from their textbooks23. In fact, Putin relies on these memory laws. He wages a war on what is known and attempts to create new icons by destroying old ones. The destruction of icons is part of Russia’s war strategy. Historian, Timothy Snyder, cites Putin’s manifesto in 2021, in which he advocates for Russia and Ukraine to unite24. He appeals to ‘shared ancestry’ to justify unspeakable war crimes. He is able to inscribe his every action into the “universal memory”, holding the media at his “immediate disposal”25. Artists have lost control of the public image and are no longer part of the “memory-making tradition”26. It is a gloomy assumption, but the media has overtaken any gains earned by early war journalism. This is something Sontag would have dreaded, that artistic production has relinquished control to powerful dictators.

Putin assumes the “radical” gestures of the avant-garde27. His denial coexists with the raison d’être of art institutions, to overturn, contest, and frustrate contemporary realities28. This is an unfortunate parallel to modern art. There there is a “conscious and artistic staging of events” that goes into disseminating war crimes29. This is not a new strategy. In the 1930s and 40s, it was common for Soviets to photograph “alleged counter-revolutionaries”, moments before their death30. It was used as moral blackmail to reveal our worst suspicions. The shock of an undeniable truth made as forget – temporarily – about being critical of images.

For decades, art criticism has indicated that photography lacks authenticity and that there is no singular cinematic truth. But today there is an overwhelming feeling of shame in the assumption that these images of terror and war are not “real.” Perhaps a surrealist like René Magritte could justify that a painted pipe is not a real pipe. But can we really say the same for a war crime, a loss of life that is so palpable that it cannot be denied?

Sontag believes the “killing machine has a gender”31. As long as men continue to crave power, wars will continue. Vladimir Putin embodies the “male killing machine” in its physical and ideological control32. This idea was first raised by Virginia Woolf in her Three Guineas, as she reflected on the roots of war. In her opening pages, Sontag notes that Woolf’s bravery was unrivalled. In fact, “the thirst we have for images of pain is deeply rooted”33. We examine not only war, but the absence of war. War journalism since its inception, has oscillated between these two states. Desolate depictions of the battlefield replaced the ghastly spectre of maimed soldiers to preserve human dignity. There was a distrust in documentary-style images, the most revered photos of WWII, staged and posed.

Roger Fenton, ‘Valley of the Shadow of Death’, 1855, Crimean War

Cornell Capa, ‘The Death of a Republican Soldier’, 1936, Spanish Civil War

Whether commissioned by the Crown or born out of the desire to capture a moment in history, it has been twisted to serve the powers that be. From the first recognisable war image in 1855, to Capa’s dramatic Falling Soldier, its subjects have been ‘tampered with’34. Fenton’s Valley of the Shadow of Death (1855) is “a portrait of absence, of death without the dead”35. He made two exposures: one with, and one without cannonballs. They were scattered across the road, estranged from the original site. More than likely props that portray the aftermath of a violent battle. Likewise, in The Death of a Republican Soldier (1936), we lose faith in the photographer’s mission. It was meant to capture a real, fortuitous moment, not a performative movement in front of Capa’s lens. The prevailing theory is that it was a training exercise shot near the front lines. Sontag implores us not to be literalists, and to have a healthy scepticism when viewing war images. Photographs are “raw” material that can drum up support for a soldier’s sacrifice but can also perpetuate the cycle of conflict36. During WWII, corpses were moved to more photogenic locations, and prop guns were used to instil gravitas37.

We are drawn to chaos as elements of the sublime. We are exposed to subliminal messaging of valour and sacrifice. We are told which crises to care about, and which to ignore. While we are so fixated on Russia’s genocidal war, Iran is waging a war on its own citizens. It seems that only civilised nations have a call to sympathy.

We are seeing with you the same dead bodies, the same ruined houses38.

Woolf worries that showing the maimed means that the dead lose their faces and become animals39. The scale of murder is so great, so profound, that we cannot identify with the victims. Even when they are named, they are unknown to “us”, and are removed from the realm of experience40. Do we really have shared understanding when we have not experienced war? Are we simply unruly spectators that have no business in engaging with such personal realities? It is hard to gauge the full extent of human indifference. Ultimately, Sontag concludes that no form of representation, whether it be the image or critical writing, can make us feel the full extent of the pain of others. But we are morally obliged to recognise their suffering and historical accounts of it41. So rather than relying on war images and unstable propaganda, we should instead rely on the words and testimonies of others.

Doris Salcedo, ‘Shibboleth’, 2007-2008, installation view, Tate Modern.

Remembering is an ethical act42. When confronted by human cruelty, audiences often feel attacked. In 2007, Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth caused a rift for all the wrong reasons. Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall was once occupied by an open cavity. Members of the public are photographed walking tediously around its edges, the fissure widening, and contorting based on where they stood. It appeared boundless, and this was the artist’s intent. After all, divisions are immeasurable, according to Salcedo. Since then, all 167-metres have been filled, but an abyss remains, a reminder of ‘racial hatred, and the violence imposed by borders’43. But its significance was lost on viewers. They did not engage with the politics of memory and complicity. Nor did they understand contemporary shibboleths:

No one…has the right to this kind of innocence, of superficiality, to this degree of ignorance, or amnesia44

Sontag implores us to never forget, for the sake of our moral integrity45. While these haunting reminders might be tokenistic, they still play a vital role in showing us what humans are capable of, reawakening our faulty, short-term memories. For Salcedo, remaining disillusioned was not an option. Her art is transgressive, as she violates the laws of her medium. The artist codifies the Shibboleth and shrouds it in mystery, leaving the viewer to ponder its intangibility. This is what received the most criticism: that it wasn’t prescriptive enough. Salcedo questions why we resent what we cannot understand. To paraphrase Levinas, the sense of the human is not marked by presence, but absence46. He says that there will always be an embedded hatred for the ‘other’. A fear of retaliation. Of elimination. The word Shibboleth carries with it a lethal force. The meaning has changed. It has fallen in and out of favour and has infiltrated many languages. In The Book of Judges, Shibboleth was a form of linguistic gatekeeping that sent enemies to their death47.

Now, we see a revival for the purpose of inclusion. Ukrainian artist Zhanna Kadyrova fled her studio, her in-situ works deferred indefinitely. She joins over 6.5 million internally displaced. Powerless, she turns to activism to support her battalion and feed the most vulnerable. Her emotional labour48 renews and repairs a country in mourning:

For the first two weeks of the war, it seemed to me that art was a dream, that all twenty years of my professional life were just something I had seen while asleep, that art was absolutely powerless and ephemeral in comparison to the merciless military machine destroying peaceful cities and human lives. Now I no longer think so: I see that every artistic gesture makes us visible and makes our voices heard49.

Zhanna Kadyrova, ‘Palianytsia’, 2022, Berezovo village, Transcarpathian region (Ukraine)

Her project Palianytsia (2022), first displayed at the 59th Biennale in Venice, raises funds for vital emergency aid. Palianytsia Паляниця in its articulation is a military tactic that spots non-Native speakers on the battlefield. The age-old test has brought out the best and worst in humanity, and this is something the artist recognises. Palianytsia is a callus expression that taunts Russian soldiers. But it is also a marker of loyalty. It appears that the artist is not set on it being a divisive term. Her mini-sculptures resemble Ukrainian hearth-baked bread sought from a place of refuge: the Carpathian Mountains. A signifier of domestic comfort, she transforms these symbolic gestures into a reality. The stones were smoothed over by the river’s inlet, and through this process she was able to shape the meaning of palianytsia. Mīmēsis is the driving force of her work. Kadyrova’s incarnation does not perpetuate malice or hatred but ensures survival. She counteracts the “male killing machine”50, as she forages, cuts, and polishes river rocks by hand. The delicately cut staple is proffered to the viewer, allowing everyone a seat at the table.

Kadyrova’s small-scale monuments unravel Russia’s imperial narrative. It is no coincidence that she wields natural objects, not weaponry, to show her condemnation. She explains how the project was conceived with co-author Denis Ruban. There was little “time for distancing or analysis”, just a “growing need to do something” (anything) to be useful51. By the second week of the war, her family was granted safe passage into Germany. During her travels, she stumbled upon an abandoned house with no electricity, a result of fallen power lines52. With the owner’s cooperation, she transformed it into a makeshift exhibition space. It became her workshop for the next few months, nestled in the relative safety of Berezovo, a small village in the Transcarpathian region. Even though they were not near any airfields or military bases, they could still hear sirens every day.

Kadyrova’s stone bread bakery is an initiative. An act of political resistance. All proceeds are directed to non-profits and friends who have stayed behind in Kyiv to defend their territory. Kadyrova gives a face to the war without glorifying the sublime or relishing in its “terrifying ambiguity”53. The modest scale of her work is not to be underestimated. There is an immediacy to her small-scale sculptures. Just as Ukrainians come to grips with their recent Soviet history, they are thrust back into the line of fire. Post-war exhibitions such as Women at War and Unfolding Landscapes, are no longer retrospectives, but art collectives focused on triage care. Their aims have dramatically shifted in crisis. It is now about allocating resources. In April 2022, the Venice Biennale enacted air-raid sirens around Riva San Biasio to immerse viewers in the severity of war54.

Zhanna Kadyrova, ‘Palianytsia’ 2022, video, 18′ 56″. Photo: Oak Taylor-Smith
Zhanna Kadyrova, ‘Palianytsia’ exhibition view, Galleria Continua, Paris. Photo: Oak Taylor-Smith
Zhanna Kadyrova, ‘Palianytsia’ exhibition view, Galleria Continua, Paris. Photo: Oak Taylor-Smith
Zhanna Kadyrova, ‘Palianytsia’ 2022, video, 18′ 56″. Photo: Oak Taylor-Smith

Her body of work expands, touring cultural capitals around the world. In Paris, she placed embroidery in conversation with Palianytsia, some taken from local flea markets, others from old Ukrainian collections. Zhanna Kadyrova imparts her reality through the bold inscription: “RAID ALERT”55. Translated and transmuted into the language of each host country, she reminds us that we are under constant threat:

The war is not a local problem of Ukraine. A theoretical threat exists for every country if the Russian aggression is not stopped56

In a short film, shot and directed by Ivan Sautkin, the artist talks to friends in the armed forces about their feelings of dread in the days and weeks leading up to the invasion. A man and wife pack their suitcases in anticipation, and the artist contemplates dreams and premonitions. As she listens, she sketches their portraits, pinning their likeness to her studio wall: a reminder of who she is supporting. She even recalls her own dreams, and her attempts to reconcile with an unexplained mix of emotions. Kadyrova’s deeply personal testimonials are evocative: Her left-side was burning as she slept, as if aflame. She desperately tried to stamp it out and deprive it of oxygen, to no avail. Next, she knew, she was evacuating.

Zhanna Kadyrova, MONUMENT to a NEW MONUMENT, 2009, Lenin Street, Sharhorod, Ukraine.

Her autobiographical accounts deal with the bizarre—a terrifying nightmare turned reality. This was a first for Kadyrova, an artist known for her mosaics which critique Soviet aesthetic traditions. Well-versed in socialist realism, she always had a sense of irony. Her MONUMENT to a NEW MONUMENT (2007-2009) transforms an abandoned town square. Stone and ceramic tiles unveil a “hero,” or at least, attempt to. Viewers are left in a permanent state of unveiling. A human form can be inferred from the patchwork of ceramic tiles. But there is an aesthetic distance, harkening back to 20 years of Ukrainian independence when the statue was first erected. The people of Sharhorod debate its meaning. One sees a “forgotten Ukrainian war hero,” another sees their children, and another: a new deity57. Through this conceptual muddling, we begin to see whatever we choose to see (or are capable of seeing). This is what the shibboleth attempts to do. It shows the lack of consensus in a ‘culturally and linguistically diverse’ nation 58.

Ceramic tiles are broken down, and pieced back together, revealing multiple facets of Ukrainian society. It reveals the artist’s desire for citizens to take part in the construction of new monuments. Like her Volatility (2019), she suspends disbelief until the moment of impact. The leitmotif of her works is one of impending violence. Much like Salcedo, she plays with aesthetics that are subversive and evade understanding. When the war began, Russian saboteurs moved through cities undetected, marking off checkpoints and infrastructure, and citing the location of Ukrainian troops. Palianytsia emerged as a linguistic code that provided certainty and control. But it also exposed a much more complex and ongoing crisis of identity in Ukraine. It is hard to acknowledge that this reality remains largely unchanged.

Contemporary shibboleths encourage us to move past us-versus-them narratives and unlock their linguistic potential. The second week of the war was the most critical for artists. Kadyrova and Subach joined Transcarpathian battalions to provide food and shelter for the displaced and elderly. They put humanitarian aid first. They alleviate the burden to ensure the survivorship of an entire nation. Creating new artefacts and reframing icons, they envision futures that see and acknowledge emotional labour. Waiting patiently, desperately, for a time when:

All of our friends and lovers and their lovers are coming over for dinner around a table we built together 59.

1 Hawkes, K., O’Connell, J.F, Blurton Jones, N.G, Alvarez, H., and Charnov, E.L. “Grandmothering, Menopause, and the Evolution of Human Life Histories.” Anthropology 95. (1998): 1336-1339. Accessed September 1, 2022. 36.

2 Snoad, L. “Elena Subach Shoots Ukrainian Grannies to Bridge the Generation Gap.” It’s Nice That. May 13, 2019. Accessed September 20, 2022.

3 Snoad, L. “Elena Subach Shoots Ukrainian Grannies to Bridge the Generation Gap.” May 13, 2019.

4 Ammar, S. “Grandmothers and Garden of Eden: The Vanities of Photographer Elena Subach.” (website), Cercle Magazine. Last modified July 14, 2020.

5 See Subach, E. “Lamkist”. Courtesy of the artist.

6 Premiyak, L. “Elena Subach Compels Us to Imagine War Beyond the Frame,” (website), British Journal of Photography. Last updated July 4, 2022.

7 Subach, E. “Chairs,” (artist website), Elena Subach. Accessed October 1, 2022. /chairs.

8 Subach, E. “Chairs,” (artist website) 2022

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11 Premiyak, L. “Elena Subach Compels Us to Imagine War Beyond the Frame.” British Journal of Photography. July 4, 2022.

12 Sontag, S. Regarding the Pain of Others (New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2003), 80, accessed October 20, 2022.

13 Subach, E. “Hidden / CXOBAHE.” (website), Besides Press. Launched October 15. Accessed October 8, 2022.

14 Sviatchenko, S. , From, I., Madsen, C.K, Dowling, F., and Abramovych, I. “War is Over If We Want it UNFOLDING LANDSCAPES Homeless Ukrainian Art on Tour.” (website), Photo Edition Berlin. Accessed September 29, 2022.

15 “Elena Subach a Visual Dialogue.” (website), See-zeen. Last updated June 26, 2022.

16 “Elena Subach a Visual Dialogue.” (website), See-zeen. 2022.

17 Nikiforov, Y. “ON REPUBLIC’S MONUMENTS (2014-2021).” (artist website), Adobe Portfolio. Accessed October 12, 2022.

18 Nikiforov, Y. “ON REPUBLIC’S MONUMENTS (2014-2021).”

19 Ibid.

20 Subach, E. “Hidden / CXOBAHE.” (website), Besides Press. Launched October 15. Accessed October 8, 2022.

21 Klimenko, N. “Pulling Meaning Out of Matter: Reformations of Ukrainian Cultural Heritage.” Post (MOMA). Last modified August 24, 2022.

22 Groys, B. “The Fate of Art in the Age of Terror,” in Art Writing in Crisis, eds. B, Haylock and M, Patty (London: Sternberg Press, 2021), 23.

23 Klimenko, N. “Pulling Meaning Out of Matter: Reformations of Ukrainian Cultural Heritage.” 2022.

24 Snyder, T. “The War in Ukraine is a Colonial War.” Essay. The New Yorker, April 28, 2022.

25 Groys, B. “The Fate of Art in the Age of Terror,” 2021, 22.

26 Ibid.

27 Ibid, 24.

28 Ibid, 23.

29 Clemens, J. “Writing About Art Writing,” in Art Writing in Crisis, eds. B, Haylock and M, Patty (London: Sternberg Press, 2021), 22.

30 Sontag, S. Regarding the Pain of Others (New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2003), 60.

31 Sontag, S. Regarding the Pain of Others, 2003, 6.

32 K. Loyd, “Zhanna Kadyrova,” The Burlington Contemporary Magazine, June 20

33 J.B. Maunsell, “8. The Pain of Others 2000-2004,” in Susan Sontag, (London: Reaktion Books, 2014), 175, accessed September 10, 2022,

34 Sontag, S. Regarding the Pain of Others, 2003, 53

35 Ibid, 51.

36 Ibid, 35, 48.

37 Ibid, 54.

38 Ibid, 6.

39 Sontag, S. Regarding the Pain of Others, 2003, 61.

40 Ibid.

41 Maunsell, J.B. “8. The Pain of Others 2000-2004,” 177

42 Sontag, S. Regarding the Pain of Others, 2003, 115

43 Loyd, K. “Zhanna Kadyrova,” The Burlington Contemporary Magazine, June 20, 2022, accessed 29 October 2022,

44 Maunsell, J.B. “8. The Pain of Others 2000-2004,” 178

45 Maunsell, J.B. 178

46 Levinas, E. and Hand, S, The Levinas Reader, (Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1989), 5, accessed November 8, 2022.

47 Judges 12:2–6

48 Haylock B. and Patty, M. “Anyone with a Link Can Edit,” in Art Writing in Crisis, eds. S, Kayman, J, Gysel and K, Mater (London: Sternberg Press, 2021), 182.

49 Loyd, K. “Zhanna Kadyrova,” The Burlington Contemporary Magazine, June 20.

50 Sontag, S. Regarding the Pain of Others, 2003, 6.

51 Kadyrova, Z. “Palianytsia 2022.” (artist website), Last updated 2022.

52 “Zhanna Kadyrova from June 30 to August 6, 2022 Palianytsia.” (website), Galleria Continua. Last modified 2022.

53 Derrida, J. “Shibboleth: For Paul Celan,” in Sovereignties in Question: The Poetics of Paul Celan, eds. T, Dutoit and O, Pasanen (New York: Fordham University Press, 2005), 48, accessed November 1, 2022,

54 Loyd, K. “Zhanna Kadyrova,” June 20.

55 “Zhanna Kadyrova ‘Palianytsia’ 30/06/2022 – 21/09/2022 Paris.” (press release), Galleria Continua. Last modified 2022.

56 See Kadyrova, Z. “Anxiety 2022.” (artist website), Last updated 2022.

57 Kadyrova, Z. “MONUMENT to a NEW MONUMENT Sharhorod, Vinnytsia oblast, Ukraine. 2007–2009.” (artist website), Last updated 2022.

58 Kadyrova, Z. “MONUMENT to a NEW MONUMENT 2007-2009” 2022.

59 Haylock B. and Patty, M. “Anyone with a Link Can Edit,” in Art Writing in Crisis, eds. S, Kayman, J, Gysel and K, Mater (London: Sternberg Press, 2021), 182.

Olivia-Anne Primmer

Olivia-Anne is an emerging art writer, musician and interdisciplinary artist. She is particularly interested in creative projects which shed light on histories that have been traditionally overlooked or misrepresented. Olivia-Anne has recently graduated from a double degree in Visual Arts and English Literatures from the University of Wollongong. (IG: oliviaannemaree)

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