every leaf is a word


In this series I explore cultural memory of Donbas, a region in eastern Ukraine, known for its mining and metal industries. Since 2014 Donbas has been a place of an ongoing military conflict. 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 Donbas which remain on the margins of cultural memory about the region. Here I focus on stories about plants in testimonies of people displaced from Donbas, 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.