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Ukrainian photographer stages 'Art Against War' exhibition

Ukrainian photographer stages 'Art Against War' exhibition

Sunday 01 May 2022

Ukrainian photographer stages 'Art Against War' exhibition

Sunday 01 May 2022


A Jersey-based photographer from Ukraine is staging an exhibition at the Arts Centre to raise money to help those affected by the tragedy in his home country. He spoke to Express about his work...

Specialising in still life photography, Sergei Sogokon said his exhibition 'Art Against War' not only portrays timeless beauty, but he has also said "the reflection and calm of my images are at odds with the current dynamic in Ukraine."

Born in a small town then called Paris, which is in the South of Ukraine, Mr Sogokon gained a degree as a pharmacist, moved to London, then Guernsey, before he settled with his wife and children in Jersey. 

"Only after many years, and moving to England, did I discover true still-life photography," he explained to Express. "Still-life took me from the comfortable and familiar, and opened a new door to a different and amazing world."

The scenes depicted by Sergei seem reminiscent of rural, traditional meals with fish, bread and fresh fruit in abundance, while many have flowers as the protagonist. One highlights the emblem of Ukraine: the sunflower.

Iris_Still-life.jpeg

Pictured: Still life with irises - "It's a cross, and if you read about irises, it's a messenger." 

Sergei's compositions - each of which is full of "pride and meaning" - are very much of the European tradition, conveying the aspirations of his homeland "to remain within the realms of that European concept.”

"Behind each object a hidden history," the photographer explained. "In my still life world, you can travel in time, you can get a sense of the mystery of life and death and for me, especially, there is a music that can transform, into shapes the eye can see."

Helping Sergei stage the exhibition is fellow Ukrainian Lera Evered.

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Pictured: A rural scene.

The pair met at the Vigil for Ukraine in the Royal Square at the beginning of March, where Ms Evered gave a moving speech.

"I was happy to meet a fellow Ukrainian, who shares my pain about what is happening. We are passionate to help as much as possible," said Sergei.

"We met the very next day where I shared my idea about holding this exhibition, to offer my work for sale, with no reimbursements to me, to the Ukraine cause."

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Pictured - left to right: Sergei Sogokon, Valeria (Lera) Evered and Wayne Stewart. 

At the recent SCOOP cooking fundraiser for Ukraine, a young JCG student shared a poem entitled 'Peace and War', which is now being featured at the exhibition.

The young poet in question, Kitty Romer (12), told Express: "I was inspired by the house poetry competition at School which had a theme of light and dark. I chose to interpret it in a way that chose to view the war as light and dark, peace and war."

Exhibitions Coordinator for the Jersey Arts Centre Wayne Stewart said: “Everyone at Jersey Arts Centre is really excited to be holding an exhibition of Sergei’s work to help raise money for this immediate, and tragic cause, and one of the most potentially consequential political events of our time."

Kitty_and_Sergei.jpg

Pictured: Kitty Romer (12) wrote a poem based on the conflict in Ukraine.

He added: “We really hope as many people as possible visit the exhibition, and on behalf of everyone involved, we would like to thank, in advance, all those who are able to give generously to help the people of Ukraine.”

The exhibition will be open at the Arts Centre's Berni Gallery until Friday 13 May. 

All funds raised from the exhibition will be donated to British Ukrainian Aid.

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FOCUS: The artist making light of still life

WATCH: Slava Ukraini! Jersey stands with you

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