every leaf is a word
In this series I explore cultural memory of the east of Ukraine, known for its mining and metal industries. Since 2014 the east of Ukraine has been living through Russia’s imperial invasion. Dominant narratives of the region present it as a hyper-industrialised, masculine space, dominated by Man and machine. In my research I look at narratives from and about the region which remain on the margins of cultural memory. Here I focus on stories about plants in testimonies of people displaced from Donestk and Luhansk oblasts, as well as palaeobotanical scholarship of the region. While working with Iskopaemaia flora srednego otdela kamennougol’nykh otlozheniĭ Donetskogo basseĭna (Leningrad: Glavnaia redaktsiia gorno-toplivnoĭ i geologorazvedochnoĭ literatury, 1938), written by M.D. Zalessky and H.Th. Tchirkova, I discovered that the artist-illustrator B.I. Sboromirsky was executed during Stalinist repressions before the book was published in 1938. I integrate his personal story in relation to violences of political regimes alongside contemporary stories of war and displacement.