Inga Levi i Iya Kiva, Having Once Left Home, 2023, video projection


The work was created in cooperation with the Free Speech programme organised by Gdańsk City of Literature; the curator and author of text is Anna Łazar.

Homesickness, forced travel and exile. These are the main themes explored in this collaborative work by visual artist Inga Levi and poet Iya Kiva, both hailing from Ukraine. In 2014, as a result of the Russian invasion, Iya was forced to leave her native Donetsk. She used the memory of this event, locked in her poem, to create a mental map. The resulting composition talks about navigating not just the space but also the area of personal memory and emotions present in the body: loss, fear and longing, which accompany people forced to leave their homes to flee from the war.

In their work, the two artists also reference the map created by Ukrainian painter and sculptor Ada Rybachuk (1931–2010), who traversed the villages of east Ukraine as she prepared for her iconic installation in the modernist crematorium in Kyiv.

INGA LEVI (she/her) is a Kyiv-born graphic designer, painter, author of installations and interdisciplinary actions. She graduated from the Publishing and Printing Department of the Kyiv University of Technology and studied visual arts at the Kyiv Academy of Media Art. Since 2022, she has been studying at the Faculty of Intermedia of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk. Levi took part in the residency programme Extended Workshop at the ŁAŹNIA Centre for Contemporary Art in Gdańsk. Between 2018 and 2021, she curated renovation works at the Stars and Constellations Fountain and the 1960s Kyiv Bus Station designed by Ada Rybachuk and Volodymyr Melnychenko.
Photo of Inga Levi: Julia Galeta

IYA KIVA (she/her) is a Ukrainian poet, translator, journalist and member of PEN Ukraine. She wrote the books Further from Paradise (2018), The First Side of Winter (2019), We Will Wake Up Different: Conversations with Contemporary Belarusian Writers about the Past, Present, and Future (2021). Her poems have been translated into over 30 languages. She translates Polish and Belarusian poetry and essays. Kiva works as a translator and editor of books for children in English as part of the Pajama Library (PJ) project in Ukraine. She received the Gaude Polonia scholarship from the Polish Minister of Culture (2021).
Photo of Iya Kiva: Inga Levi



Photo of Inga Levi by Julia Galeta

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