Ukrainian Pavilion Public Programme at the 59th La Biennale di Venezia

Decolonising Art. Beyond the Obvious is an interdisciplinary programme of the Ukrainian Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia The Milk of Dreams that engages artists, curators, public intellectuals, researchers, and a wider audience.

The programme focuses on a decolonial view on Ukraine and Eastern Europe as a response to the ongoing russian aggression in Ukraine, but also the broader perspective on the global art scene in the current shift in geopolitical and cultural environment. 

This year’s programme of the Ukraine Pavilion was created as an emergency reply to the situation of extreme and unconditioned violence of the war. Conversation is proposed as an incluse, sensitive, open-ended, and undermining conversation – make us aware how our movement and seeing are also embedded in structures that might reproduce hierarchies and injustices. While programming we invite all the participating pavilions of the biennale to suggest their optics, formats, speakers and narratives to be included.

It is important for us to discuss the topic with the world community:

  • How can one talk about art at the time when a cruel and unthinkable war in Europe unfolds? 
  • How we see arts as part of the problem and part of dealing with the problem? 
  • How aggression changes our optics? 
  • How art communities should operate to unveil the roots for genocidal actions of aspiring world “superpower”? etc

The opening discussion introducing the programme is titled How Russian war against Ukraine changed the [art] world. It will take place on 22 April at 15:00.


  • Borys Filonenko, Co-curator of the Ukrainian Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Editor-in-Chief of Ist Publishing (Kharkiv, Ukraine)
  • Alevtina Kakhidze, Artist. Artist at War (Kyiv, Ukraine)
  • Serhii Plokhii, Historian, Director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University (USA)
  • Olesia Ostrovska-Liuta, Director General of the Mystetskyi Arsenal National Arts and Culture Museum Complex (Kyiv, Ukraine)
  • Tetyana Filevska, Creative Director of the Ukrainian institute (Kyiv, Ukraine)

Location: Teatro Piccolo Arsenale




The programme is an integral part of the Ukraine Pavilion exhibition project, supervised by the Commissioner Kateryna Chuyeva, Deputy Minister for European Integration of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine and curated by Lizaveta German, Maria Lanko, Boris Filonenko and will be held in collaboration with the Ukrainian Institute, the participating artists and curators of other national pavilions. 

All activities will take place throughout the duration of the 59th International Art Exhibition (April – November 2022) over 4-5 long weekends, several events per day. The project will target a wide audience of Biennale Arte 2022 visitors, accredited professionals, and media.

Hosted by La Biennale di Venezia

Partners: Ukrainian Pavilion, Ukrainian Institute, International Renaissance Foundation