Zaporozhian Cossack Mythology As Political Agenda

Handmade Embroidery
Cotton on Natural Linen
H.3000 x W.40 cm
Installed on Khortytsia Island, Ukraine

This project focuses on the design of a modern national identity while using the Zaporozhian Cossacks historical phenomena in Ukraine as a case study.
The Cossack brotherhood was a group of East Slavic men who became known as members of a self-governing, militaristic community, around the 15th century. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian government has been striving to gather her people under one nation and has been looking, as other governments have before, for a symbol. This magical something that consistently makes people believe that they are connected with one another and willingly give their lives in its name. The Zaporozhian Cossacks have been chosen to fulfill this mission—to represent the romantic image of the Ukrainian nation seeking freedom and independence.

The project includes two parts—a series of Rushnyks (traditional Slavic cloth), hand-embroidered with symbols and cryptogram. Each Rushnyk is 3 meters long by 0.5 meters wide. And a book containing an essay that challenges some of the traditional interpretations of the Zaporozhian Cossack's role in Ukrainian history, accompanied by photos taken in Ukraine during 2016-2019, captures the constant rebuilding of the Ukrainian national identity.