“Almost every Ukrainian town or city has mosaic panels, most of them created by Soviet artists over the last 30 years of the USSR, from the late 1950s through the late 1980s”, explain editors Olga Balashova and Lizaveta German in their new book ‘Decommunized’, which gathers numerous examples of this often overlooked artform. In recent years, surviving works have been threatened both by lack of maintenance and deliberate efforts to remove traces of former political regimes.
Photographer Yevgen Nikiforov began to record the mosaics in 2013, a process that gathered pace as the threats to the works increased with the passing of a new law (On the Condemnation of Communist and National-Socialist Totalitarian Regimes in Ukraine and on the Prohibition on the Propaganda of their Symbols). “We shouldn’t cultivate ignorance and pretend that the Soviet period never existed”, he says. “History brooks no blank pages. Preserved testimony of an era leaves more of a mark on society than deliberate erasure”.
‘Decommunized: Ukrainian Soviet Mosaics’
DOM Publishers, 250pp, £65