In Brief

Pro-Russian Separatists Kidnap Artist in Ukraine

by Laura C. Mallonee on August 11, 2014

A public art installation by Sergei Zakharov (image via Facebook)

A public art installation by Sergei Zakharov (image via Facebook)

Pro-Russian rebels have abducted an artist in eastern Ukraine, the International Business Times reported. Sergei Zakharov, who created the Murzilki art project, had previously mocked the separatist group that’s taken over the city of Donetsk and declared it the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

Family and neighbors said four armed men with DPR badges stormed Zakharov’s home one night late last week, taking Zakharov, his laptop, and a box of his flyers. “He was taken to an unknown destination,” Murzilki “press secretary” Sergei Mzurkiewicz wrote on Facebook. “We haven’t been able to contact him. If anyone has any ideas about a possible release, please write to me in private.”

Zakharov attracted attention over the past month in Donetsk for the Murzilki project, a series of public art actions ridiculing the DPR. Most recently, he targeted leader Igor Girkin “Strelkov,” who has claimed responsibility for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and is also believed to have fought with the Serbs during the Bosnian War. The artist depicted Strelkov holding a gun to his own head, below him the encouraging Nike slogan: “Just Do It.” Zakharov’s plywood cut-out figures have also depicted commander Arsen Pavlov as a devilish faun and a DPR soldier as a character in Mikhail Bulgakov’s 1925 satire Heart of a Dog.

The DPR has proven itself exceedingly concerned with art’s political reach. In June, it took over an arts nonprofit. Pro-Russian fan art also abounds on the group’s VKontakte (Russian Facebook) page.

h/t artforum.com 

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