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Xavier University, in partnership with the Ukrainian National Women’s League (UNWLA), is proud to present an evocative photography exhibition that chronicles the story of Mariupol, a city in southeastern Ukraine, that came to symbolize the horrors of war.

Many still remember the bombardment of the Donetsk Regional Drama Theater by Russian forces even though the words “Children” were prominently marked on the pavement by the building. Titled “Mariupol” this exhibition brings together the work of three talented photographers, offering a powerful and moving portrayal of life before and after the siege of Mariupol.

Mariupol, nestled on the coast of the Sea of Azov in the Donetsk Oblast, flourished as a major port in Southern Ukraine, with a vibrant cultural scene featuring theaters, museums, and festivals. The city’s wide avenues, numerous parks, and the picturesque Sea of Azov and Kalmius River made it a place of beauty and joy for its residents. However, the onset of war in 2022 changed everything. The siege of Mariupol, which began on February 24, 2022, and lasted until May 20, 2022, as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, left over 90% of the city in ruins, and it was illegally annexed by Russia. Today, an estimated 100,000 inhabitants remain, their lives forever altered.

“My Mariupol and The World Around It,” a collection by Myroslav Kobylianskyi, who lived in Mariupol for seven years, offers a glimpse of the city’s former beauty, capturing its life, dreams, and love. His urban sketches, portraits, and landscapes vividly portray Mariupol the Beautiful.

In contrast, Evgeniy Maloletka and Maksym Chernov, both acclaimed photographers working for the Associated Press and Pulitzer Prize winners, documented the harrowing realities of Mariupol during its bombardment by Russian forces in February and March 2022. Their images reveal the truth behind Russia’s claims of targeting only military installations, exposing the suffering of Mariupol’s residents. The “Mariupol” exhibition, running from September 22, 2023, through October 12, 2023, at the Xavier University Art Gallery, invites visitors to bear witness to the tragedy of Mariupol while honoring the indomitable spirit of its people and the memories of its beauty. The photos capture moments of heartache, bravery, and human connection against the backdrop of devastation, transcending geographical and political divides to reveal our shared humanity.

DATES: September 22, 2023, through October 12, 2023

LOCATION: Xavier University Art Gallery, A.B. Cohen Center, 1658 Musketeer Drive Cincinnati, OH 45207

OPENING RECEPTION: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Friday, September 22, 2023,

GALLERY HOURS: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday


Join us in this poignant journey through Mariupol’s past and present, as seen through the eyes of these talented photographers. For more information about the exhibition, please contact UNWLA Cincinnati at [email protected]

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