Anton Shebetko

Anton Shebetko (b.1990) is a Ukrainian artist and photographer from Kyiv. He currently lives in Amsterdam. He studied at Gerrit Rietvel Academie. He works closely with LGBTQ + topics, themes of memory, loss of identity, plurality of history, and the role that photography can play in revealing these stories. His extensive research is devoted to the forgotten queer history of Ukraine. His range of projects varies from installations and interventions dedicated to old cruising spots and underground gay resorts in Crimea to more relevant topics such as Ukrainian LGBTQ + soldiers. His works were shown at FOAM Museum and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Frei_raum Q21 Exhibition Space in Wien, Austria, CENTQUATRE-PARIS in Paris, France and Mystetskyi Arsenal in Kyiv, Ukraine. His works were published in British Journal of Photography, Butt Magazine, GUP Magazine, VIce, De Correspondent, Huck Magazine. He was a recipient of Where Love Is Illegal Fellowship in 2022.

It’s not your problem, 2022 | Neon | 38 x 87 cm

Anton Shebetko

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Graduation project: “It’s (not) your problem”

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine took place on February 24, 2022. During this time, more than 4,500 people died, not counting tens of thousands in the occupied territories. Overly 12 million people have been forced to flee their homes. In fact, the Russian-Ukrainian war began 8 years ago with the occupation of Crimea and the invasion of Donbas, which is often forgotten.

Every war has irreversible consequences on many levels, and above all on human life. “It’s (not) your problem” is an exhibition which explores these levels from various perspectives and consists of two parts. At the center of the first part of the exhibition are Ukrainian queer people and the choices they make during the war. Some flee the war to other countries, left traumatized but safe. Some took up arms and went to defend their country. Some, like me, were staying outside of Ukraine for a longer period of time and starting their morning by checking if their loved ones who are staying in Ukraine are safe and alive. The second part of the work is devoted to the Ukrainian cultural heritage, which is being destroyed by Russia. The unification of these parts is aimed at the question: “What is the role of culture and art during the war and do they make any sense if they can be easily destroyed?”

Vlad from We Were Here, 2018 | 120 x 80 cm | C-print on dibond

Anton Shebetko

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Maks from We Were Here, 2018 | C-print on dibond | 80 x 120 cm

Anton Shebetko

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We Were Here is a series of works depicting real LGBTQ+ veterans of the war in Donbass. After participating in this project, veteran Viktor Pylypenko created the Association of Ukrainian LGBTQ Military, which before the full-scale invasion numbered about 130 people. Most of them are currently taking part in hostilities.

Sofia from We Were Here, 2018 | C-print on dibond | 80 x 120 cm

Anton Shebetko

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Viktor from We Were Here, 2018 | C-print on dibond | 80 x 120 cm

Anton Shebetko

Ruslana from We Were Here, 2018 | C-print on dibond | 80 x 120 cm

Anton Shebetko

Nick from We Were Here, 2018 | C-print on dibond | 80 x 120 cm

Anton Shebetko

Serhii from We Were Here, 2018 | C-print on dibond | 80 x 120 cm

Anton Shebetko

Laslo from To Know Us Better, 2022 | Fujifilm DP II print on dibond (set of 25 images) | 30 x 20 cm

Anton Shebetko

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To Know Us Better is a series of portraits and interviews with representatives of the Ukrainian queer community who were forced to leave Ukraine because of the war. The project was shot in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland and Spain. Its protagonists include those who left after February 24, and those who left after the occupation of Crimea and the Donbas invasion.

To Know Us Better Fujifilm DP II print on dibond, 2022 | Fujifilm DP II print on dibond | 20 x 30 cm

Anton Shebetko

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House of culture

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 10,631 civilian casualties in the country: 4,731 killed and 5,900 injured. (figure on June 26). At the same time, the UN confirms that the actual death toll is several times higher. 12 million people were forced to flee their homes, millions of whom went abroad. Russia has also destroyed more than 400 monuments to Ukraine’s cultural heritage, including theaters, museums, architectural monuments, religious buildings and works of art. Data and photos for this project are taken from the site culturecrimes.mkip.gov.ua. The photographs are white silkscreen prints on white paper, so take notice that the initial black and white photographs are not the works presented.

House of culture, 2022 | Silkscreen on foamboard, text | 59,4 x 84,1 cm

Anton Shebetko

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