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Under the Surface

In May 2022 Lera Litvinova received a grant from the European Marine Board as part of the EMBracing the Ocean artist-in-residence programme, which is an activity of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.


I appreciate opportunity that EMB create for artists with the EMBracing the Ocean residency program. During the last months the world changed. My life changed and the whole world faced with a new challenge. The project supports the objectives of the European Commission’s Mission Restore our Ocean and Seas.
The theme of war and peace become the most popular and acute. Death and ruins are on agenda of media. Discussion about demolition of infrastructure on the massive territories has to raise problem of marine pollution. Ukraine is penetrated by system of rivers and washed by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. 
Wiped out cities with all it’s infrastructure, wild shelling of Chernobyl zone and atomic stations of Ukraine, bombardment of manufactures, plants and warehouses, mining of the sea, sinking of ships and other military activities are bringing huge impact on the ecology situation and will lead to exacerbation of the problem of marine pollution in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.


The territory suffered from russian invasion and bombardment is huge. What cruel consequences will bring war to the Black Sea and Sea of Azov underwater life? How it will hurt to Mediterranean Sea under water life and rise pollution?
But also there’s a question, how cities will be reconstructed?
Whether it’s time when on the ruins we can build new world and attitude to the nature?
With the project I would like to research consequences of the war to the marine pollution in Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, how it will effect on Mediterranean Sea. I want to give inspiration to the viewers of the exhibition the possibilities of restoration, recovering not only cities, but also underwater life. Fragile ecosystem of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov has to get attention as one of the unique seas that have to be saved.


The exhibition "Renaissance" presents the art installation "Under the Surface". These are ceramic panels, as well as its individual elements. Some parts of the installation resemble the surface of the raging waters of the Black Sea. At the same time, the chaotic and almost moving elements of the ceramic panel send us to imagine the life of the underwater inhabitants of the Black Sea. Clay petals "come to life" in the imagination of the guests of the exhibition, turning into a living creature in motion, personifying the Black Sea. Black Sea life, raging whirlwinds and future.

Separately, under the spherical domes, "sea flowers" are presented - a symbol of life and adaptation of underwater inhabitants. Sea flowers are filled with water from the Black Sea. The long journey made by the Black Sea water became symbolic. The water was collected on the Turkish coast and arrived in Ukraine through Germany and Poland. The whole journey took over 2 weeks. Such a great distance is now between the author of the exhibition and the Black Sea, a sea that is so close and so far now.

The Under the Surface installation was developed in close collaboration with scientists and environmental activists. The exhibition also presents materials from the EMBLAS project, the Center for Environmental Initiatives "EkoAction". The exhibition is also educational. Namely, within the framework of the exhibition, information is provided for the guests of the exhibition on the state of the Black Sea, as well as educational videos.

The "Renaissance" exhibition is open from August 26 and will last until October 26, 2022

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