Dmitry Kuznichenko was born in the Ukraine where he completed studies in a Masters of Fine Art at the Institute of Arts and Design, Kharkov.
He lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife and young daughter.
From the author about this painting:
"The area of Ukraine where my father’s side of the family comes from is called Slobozhanshina.
I created this ethnographical scroll four years ago, during my last visit to Kharkiv. After a sudden death of my father, for three month I lived in his apartment and dealt with my grief by drawing the last traces of his existence. In this work, l used an old family photograph taken during the WWII which depicts my grandmother-to-be, Baba Nadia, as a Ukrainian Madona, in her arms she holds my future father, Vova and also, I pasted a cut-off of her headscarf into the work - to be her skirt. The viewer can’t possibly miss, the whole Red Army squad going under the Madonna’s skirt. On the right, there are some things that I have written next to the images. These words reflect not only our family history but also a historical perspective on WWII and are based on my childhood memories of overhearing my grandmother’s conversations with her sister-in-law Polina. I wrote a short statement from myself, as if I was a ten-year-old and lower down written in Ukrainian, I replicated my Baba Nadia’s voice. Back then, when hearing grandmother’s and Polina’s painful recollections, as a little city boy coming to their village, I may not have been able to wholeheartedly connect to it. When I became a little bit older, when hearing the same words again and again, I started to have reluctant ears and wanted as soon as possible to get out of the kitchen.
Later on, when I was already an art student, I was kind of worried how can I fit into our Soviet society and celebrate the Nineth of May as our Victory Day, but then hear what my Baba Nadia was saying about the horrors of what Red Army troops been doing to women when they came to liberate the village from Germans. Now I am so much older and despite I’m in Australia, her memories and grandmother’s voice have infiltrated to the southern hemisphere.
Should I claim to be having a post-traumatic stress disorder from hearing it all as a child? While my grandmother lived with that ordeal all her life and thought that it was a usual thing - that what Red Army liberators were supposed to be doing to their own civilians.
Now with the outbreak of war in Ukraine, we hear on the news what happens in the villages occupied by Russian hordes. Rape is now a weapon of war.
My Baba Nadia, having her officer husband killed in 1941, had all the war widow credentials and was happy to celebrate the Nineth of May Victory Day. These gang-rapes by the Red Army solders – she had strength to endure it. But the fact that Russian bastards were giving her little son, Vova, a rolled cigarette to smoke – NEVER, she couldn’t get over it."