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Announcement
November 16, 2022

ELIA supports mentoring platform for art students in Ukraine

ELIA

Photo: Oleksandr Osipov.

Photo: Alina Kindyak.

Photo: Oleksandr Osipov.

́© Artur Starewicz.

Courtesy of the Abakanowicz Arts and Culture Charitable Foundation (AACCF) and the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA).

Magdalena Abakanowicz.

On the occasion of Tate Modern exhibition of Magdalena Abakanowicz, artist’s Foundation announces gift to Ukrainian art universities. The Abakanowicz Arts and Culture Charitable Foundation (AACCF), in collaboration with ELIA, the European League of Institutes of the Arts, announces its largest gift to date to support art students and universities in Ukraine. Watch film: Creating in Conflict.

The scheme, known as the UAx Platform, will support war-affected art students who have remained in Ukraine hoping to continue their degree studies and build their artistic practice, and Ukrainian Higher Arts Education institutions which are struggling to deliver teaching during a time of crisis.

The award announced on November 15, 2022, coincides with the opening of a major Tate Modern exhibition of Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930–2017), offering visitors a rare opportunity to explore an extraordinary body of the artist’s pioneering textile sculptures, known as Abakans.

In March 2022 Russian forces bombed the G12 Art School in the city of Mariupol, where hundreds of civilians were sheltering. Cultural institutions in Ukraine including The Donetsk Drama Theatre have been destroyed, with art academies, theatres, UNESCO heritage sites, and libraries still under serious threat.

The UAx Platform will directly support Ukrainian art students through peer mentoring, knowledge exchange, and capacity building of their institutions, in collaboration with arts universities across the EU and beyond. At the core of the scheme is the creation of a Sister School network linking art schools in Ukraine with ELIA member universities across Europe. Ten schools will be partnered in the first year – five from Ukraine, five from Germany, Estonia, Poland, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic—rising to thirty schools in the third year. ELIA member universities will provide support in the form of professional mentorships between teachers and students in Ukraine. By 2025, almost 200 Ukrainian students will have received professional mentorship through the scheme as Abakanowicz Fellows.

About The Abakanowicz Arts and Culture Charitable Foundation
The Abakanowicz Arts and Culture Charitable Foundation began operations in 2019, having been established by the artist and her husband twenty years earlier. It supports scholarly work on the artist and projects, which demonstrate her belief in art as a visual language within cultures and dynamic force in contemporary society.

Mary Jane Jacob, co-artistic director of AACCF and curator of the exhibition at Tate Modern, said: “Abakanowicz fought to bring art into being. This shaped her life’s mission: “With my art I oppose the cruelty and hypocrisy of the official history,” and put faith in the “marvellous history of the individual human life, with its truth, sincerity, and greatness.” At this time, when we need to imagine a new and better world, the Abakanowicz Foundation is enthusiastic to fund this first step in sustaining Ukraine’s young artists and nurturing its creative community.’”

About ELIA
In June 2022, at the ELIA Leadership Symposium in Estonia, Ukrainian arts education leaders stressed that their number one priority was to stop the "institutional destruction" of the arts.

President of ELIA, Andrea B. Braidt, said: “Arts academies are intense places—all that creative power under one roof flowing like a current. We understand each other and feel this connection. No matter where in the world, if one school suffers, others feel it. The UAx Platform acts like a switch for ELIA, connecting us directly to counterparts in Ukraine. Together, we strengthen the force, integrity, and intensity of these young artists.”

Oleksandr Soboliev, Rector, Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Arts (KSADA), said: “What does it mean for Kharkiv State Academy of Design and Arts to be part of UAx and a member of ELIA exactly? First and foremost, it is a recognition of our 100-year-old art school. It is an opportunity for teachers and students to gain invaluable experience. But most importantly, it provides the opportunity to reboot despite these difficult times, to overcome the psychological and physical consequences that Russian aggression has inflicted on Ukrainian students and mentors.”

For further information contact: info [​at​] elia-artschools.org.

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