Vasyl Cherepanyn VCRC attacked

Ukrainian curator Vasyl Cherepanyn’s face after an attack last week (image via VCRC/Facebook)

A politically engaged Ukrainian curator was attacked and beaten in an incident in Kiev late last month, The Art Newspaper reported. Vasyl Cherepanyn, who directs the Visual Culture Research Center (VCRC) in the Ukrainian capital and edits a magazine called Political Critique, was reportedly accosted by an unknown assailant in camouflage at 7:15pm on September 23, according to a post on the VCRC Facebook page.

Cherepanyn, a lecturer in cultural studies at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, had been involved in the Open University of Maidan, a public initiative offering graduate-level courses to the public in Kiev’s Maidan square. The square entered the international spotlight in late 2013 as the site of the pro-European integration Euromaidan protests.

In an unsigned opinion article published in English on the Political Critique website, the attack on Cherepanyn is attributed to “paramilitary thugs”:

During the attack, the thugs were accusing Vasyl Cherepanyn of being ‘separatist’, which is totally absurd to anyone aware of his activities. These unfounded and absurd claims, along with accusations of being ‘a communist’, are more and more often used by aggressive ignorants who aim to impose their ideology of hatred upon Ukrainian society, and to suppress any manifestations of critical thought. We demand a quick investigation of this appalling attack. We also demand to investigate the activities of paramilitary groups that use the war in Ukraine as a pretext to justify their own misantropic [sic] views.

News of the attack coincides with the alleged assault on Friday of curator Benjamin Hiller and the vandalism of his exhibition Material Evidence, held at a rented event space in Chelsea — apparently over its depiction of the Ukraine conflict.

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Mostafa Heddaya

Mostafa Heddaya is the former managing editor of Hyperallergic.