‘I don’t want to look at it:’ And why you should. A photo exhibit on invasion of Ukraine opens at Purdue
Plus, Sen. Todd Young visits Purdue to tout hypersonic, semiconductor research, as U.S. sorts out investments coming from the CHIPS Act … with big stakes possible in West Lafayette
Surrounded by a collection of poster-sized images, shot from the front lines in her Ukrainian homeland since the Russian invasion started one year ago and exhibited in a study lounge in the Purdue Memorial Union, Olesia Vasylenko called the display painful.
“I don’t want to look at it,” said Vasylenko, who escaped the war with her school-age son and daughter in March 2022 for refuge at her in-laws’ home in West Lafayette. Her husband, Kostyantyn Semchynskyy, remains in Ukraine, a university professor-turned-soldier at the one-year anniversary, marked Friday.
“I saw all of this,” Vasylenko said. “And more of this.”
Tanya Gordiienko helped coordinate “Ukrainian Grit & Hope,” a traveling exhibit of photos shot by her husband, Vitalii Nosach, a Kyiv-based photo journalist. She said she understood it was a bit intense, this grouping that showed soldiers on the line, the wailing at packed funerals, the scattered wreckage at bombed out apartment complexes, crews defusing unexploded shells and life attempting to get along in an invaded country at war.
“But this is the point, I think,” Gordiienko, one of nine students and faculty in West Lafayette with Purdue’s Ukrainian Scholars Initiative, said Thursday during an opening ceremony.
“Ukraine has been fighting when no one believe we’d have a chance to stand up,” Gordiienko said. “I just really want to be able one day to show you not only the exhibition about how the war started, but the end of this war.”
From Ukraine, Nosach patched in with a video message made for the occasion.
“Some of the pictures are not very easy to look at,” Nosach said. “But they are important, because they show the reality in which Ukrainians live. Like other Ukrainians, I could smell the rotting bodies from the mass graves left behind by the Russians in Bucha … and many other cities and villages. I went through the ashes that remain from people’s homes. I saw children who became orphans because their parents were shot by Russians. … I hope my work will make at least a small contribution to stop the Russians.”
IF YOU GO: “Ukrainian Grit & Hope” will be on display in the West Main Lounge on the first floor of the Purdue Memorial Union through March 12. The exhibit will move to other spots on campus and in Greater Lafayette in the weeks that follow. That schedule will come later.
SEN. YOUNG ON CAMPUS TO TALK ABOUT PURDUE’S NATIONAL SECURITY RESEARCH, CHIPS MONEY CHANCES
U.S. Sen. Todd Young swung through West Lafayette Wednesday, visiting with Purdue President Mung Chiang and touring spaces dealing with food security, hypersonics, semiconductor development and the university’s growing presence in national security research.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial