Statement on February 24th, 2023

24 February 2023

On February 24, 2023 The Kule Folklore Centre issued the following statement on the continuation of the war against Ukraine

 The Kule Folklore Centre continues to stand with Ukraine.  On this anniversary, we reaffirm our condemnation of the unjust war and we recommit to our mission of support for Ukrainian researchers, students, and friends old and new.

We stand in support of their scholarship—their freedom to speak out, to freely enquire into the nature of the conflict, to create a record of events, and to safeguard their documentation and findings against suppression and destruction, through the continuation of the Disrupted Ukrainian Scholars and Students (DUSS) initiative, and the free and secure storage of electronic data for scholars, archives and other institutions via the Ukraine-Archives Rescue Team (U-ART).

We invite you to join with our University of Alberta community in solidarity, at events taking place on campus, over the coming days and in the weeks to come. 

You can find out more about these events here

If you need help, please reach out, as support for the community, employees and students, is available here and additional support for students is available here.

What are the cherished vessels of Ukrainian folklore?

We might look to a volume of poetry, an embroidered cloth, a crumbling bit of newsprint, a wedding photograph, a rooster jug on a precarious shelf, or a handwritten letter from the frontlines sent to loved ones far away.

Such are the shreds and patches of material culture that inspire our scholars, enliven our seminars and exhibitions at the Kule Folklore Centre this year, and make up the archives and collections here at the University of Alberta, in Ukraine, and elsewhere around the world.

But far more than these, the cherished vessels of Ukrainian folklore are the minds, the voices, and the hearts of those who live, both now and in our memories. They are friends and colleagues displaced by the war, relatives in cities and in fields, and children yet to come. Let us look after each other, and wrap these cherished vessels as tenderly in our thoughts and care as the statues of Lviv are wrapped against bombardment in Rynok Square.

We carry some of the best of our folkways forward through the culturally patterned and particular ways in which we show our regard for one another, and through the ways in which that care is recognized, and acted upon by those others in return. Our ways of making sense of the world may include drawing strength from the art and exhortations of those who have gone before us.

In the context of  now over a year of the unjust and illegal war against the sovereign state and people of Ukraine, I asked Dmytro Yesypenko, a doctoral student and literary scholar at the Centre, to select a poem that had a particular resonance with these difficult times. He drew on a number of works by Ukraine’s national poet Taras Shevchenko, (1814-1861) who met tyranny, exile and displacement of his lifetime with a vision for a free Ukraine, and a better world. Here is an excerpt in translation, and in the original Ukrainian, from “Old Archimedes drank no wine…” (1860)

The tsars’ rye will be trampled down,
And men will come into their own.
New tsars will die still unconceived
And in our land, by faith retrieved,
No foemen shall be brought to birth,
Mothers and sons shall show their worth
And love shall reign throughout the earth.1

… Буде бите
Царями сіянеє жито!
А люде виростуть. Умруть
Ще незачатиє царята...
І на оновленій землі
Врага не буде, супостата,
А буде син, і буде мати,
І будуть люде на землі.2

We may likewise draw strength from Shevchenko’s words today, in the ongoing efforts worldwide to support Ukraine’s citizenry in their concerted efforts to hold fast to Ukraine’s lands and nationhood, as is their incontrovertible and self-evident right under international law.  

 It is my honour to announce the March 6th opening of the multimedia exhibit, “Dumy Moï - My Thoughts: Taras Shevchenko, the Ukrainian Diaspora and the Ongoing War in Ukraine.” Curated by Kule Folklore Chair Dr. Larisa Sembaliuk Cheladyn and PhD student Dmytro Yesypenko, the exhibit will be featured from March 6-30 in the Galleria of Rutherford Library on the University of Alberta main campus.  A Kule Folklore lunch presentation by co-curator Dmytro Yesypenko will take place in that same venue, at noon on March 10th. Please join us to launch an exhibit that will inspire, in this gathering space where all are welcome. 

Andie Palmer
Interim Director, Kule Folklore Centre
February 24, 2023

1“Old Archimedes drank no wine…” (1860) // Taras Shevchenko. The Poetical Works: The Kobzar. Translated by C.H. Andrusyshen and Watson Kirkconnell. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1964, p. 546-547.

2 «І Архімед, і Галілей…» [And Archimedes, and Galileo…] (1860) // Тарас Шевченко. Зібрання творів: У 6 томах. Том 2. Київ: Наукова думка, 2003. С. 353. [Taras Shevchenko, Collected Works in 6 Volumes: Volume 2. Kyiv: Naukova Dumka. 2003, p. 353.]