Lot #51 | My Mother Is Alive, My Mother Is Immortal. My Mother Is Ukraine

My Mother Is Alive, My Mother Is Immortal. My Mother Is Ukraine by Victoria Zueva
11 Years Old
2022. Kharkiv City, Ukraine

  • The lot contains a copy of Bogdan Ziza’s letter and a photograph of the administrative building occupied by Russian invaders, covered in paint symbolizing the color of the Ukrainian flag.
  • 13,8″x19,7″ (35х50 cm) Gouache, Cotton Drawing Paper
  • This artwork comes with an Honorary Plaque
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Lot Essay

The letter of a Crimean Tatar to his ‘mother,’ Ukraine

27-year-old Bogdan Ziza was imprisoned for having thrown blue and yellow paint, the colors of Ukraine, over a Russian administrative building. His family decided to publish the letters he wrote from his cell.

Bogdan Ziza, an artist of Crimean Tatar origin through his mother, has become one of the iconic figures of the oppression suffered by the inhabitants of the Crimean peninsula, occupied by Russia since 2014, which has had an even heavier influence since the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.

Mr. Ziza, 27, smeared a Russian occupation administration building in Eupatoria, on the west coast, with yellow and blue paint, the colors of the flags of Ukraine and the Crimean Tatars, the indigenous population of the peninsula who were forcibly deported to Central Asia by Stalin in 1944.

The next day, Mr. Ziza was arrested by the Russians. Beaten and forced into making a televised confession, he is now imprisoned in Simferopol, Crimea’s capital.

Letter written by Bogdan Ziza, on August 24, 2022, the anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, and published by his cousin on the Instagram account @webogdanziza, launched to obtain his release.

” Hello Mom.
I fall to my knees. I apologize for not having written to you during the long days of separation. Forgive me for not being there during the most difficult times of your life. We haven’t spoken for a long time. I admit it, it seemed to me that it would be forever and ever. They took me away from you, convincing me that you couldn’t cope. That you turned away without saying a word. For a long time, I was angry and confused, not understanding how you could have let me be taken away like this.

“Mother, forgive me”
I was short, stupid and weak. I didn’t understand what was happening. I tried to get along with that mean stepmother. She kept repeating that you didn’t need me and that’s why you left me. Later, I understood that you were forced. She took advantage of your weakness and deceived you, leaving you no choice. She keeps trying to convince me that you’re not happy with me. But, despite her years of trying, I know that’s a lie.”

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