Lviv reopens art galleries ‘to show we’re alive’

In fact, sometimes the art speeds up, even when the bombs are raining down.

Two Ukrainian artists, Vlada Ralko and Volodymyr Budnikov, spent a month living in an unused gallery in the suddenly empty palace after the Russian invasion, Mr Voznyak said. They donated dozens of works they had produced to the museum, many of them depicting the war.

“This art was created at that time, in this palace, it’s living art,” the director said, adding that the work would be exhibited in late spring or summer, perhaps in a castle about 80 km east of Lviv.

Western Ukraine is full of castles, a legacy of its past under several rulers, including Poland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city center is marked by the influences of several cultures, and because it was an administrative capital, it has long been a center of art and opera.

Mr Voznyak is unabashedly chauvinistic about his country’s strong artistic traditions, an outgrowth of Ukraine that has been at the crossroads since medieval times of a main trade route between Europe, India and China.

“I don’t mean to offend Americans, but everyone grows up in a certain aesthetic environment,” he said, before inevitably offending some Americans. “It’s not absolute, but if you grew up in a place like this, you’re more likely to have taste.”

A moment later, he pointed to the American, Australian, Canadian, British, Polish and Lithuanian flags waving next to the Ukrainian flag outside the rostrum in recognition of their aid to Ukraine’s war effort. A Swiss company provided free help, he said, to turn damp underground spaces into temperature-regulated storage sites for some of the artworks.

“We hung the flags of our allies – the ones that help us the most to preserve both the museum and this city,” he said.

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