In his series To Know Us Better, Shebetko portrays Queer Ukrainians who are living or temporarily staying in Europe. Their experience and hopes for a better future are documented in a series of portraits and heartfelt interviews. The series shows people who moved after Russia's occupation of Crimea, the war in the East in 2014 and Russia's full invasion in 2022. A part of the community has fled Ukraine to find refuge in neighbouring countries. Others have decided to stay or return to safe places within the country. These portraits and heartfelt interviews document their experiences and hopes for a better future.
Additionally, Shebetko created the publication A Very Brief and Subjective Queer History of Ukraine. This self-published book includes years of iconographic and written research. Interviews and essays from Shebetko's archive are featured alongside others that were created specifically for this publication.
A central piece of his publication A Very Brief and Subjective Queer History of Ukraine is a timeline. It has been drawn that highlights key moments in the history of this community. Shebetko used Carlos A. Motta's Brief History of Homosexual Repression in Ukraine (2014) as a reference in the construction of this timeline. This work was presented at the Future Generation Art Prize 2014 exhibition in Kyiv's Pinchuk Art Centre. Shebetko attempts to complete Motta's research by filling in the gaps and adding new dates. The timeline starts with the historical oppression and leads toward gained visibility over the past few years.
Side notes: A special episode of Foam’s podcast Foam Talks explores how communitarian archives are fostering a new understanding of queer life and culture in Eastern Europe. Besides Shebetko, the conversation welcomes Karol Radziszewski, Polish artist and co-founder of Queer Archives Institute for Central and Eastern Europe. The conversation is moderated by Jim van Geel, Coordinator Public Programme at Rijksakademie and Curator Public Programme Young Design at Design Museum. link
Foam Editions offers a limited-edition print by Anton Shebetko. All proceeds of this sale will go to humanitarian funds in Ukraine. link
The presentation at Foam is still on view until September 7. If you are intersted check the details here
Images 1-4 courtesy the artist
Images 5-6 and cover photo © Foam — Photo Josef Degabriele
Images 7-9 © Foam