W&L Presents Public Art Exhibition and Lecture on Ukraine The public lecture, titled "Portrait of a Village, Ukraine," will be delivered by Lida and Mišo Suchý on April 28 at 5 p.m.
Washington and Lee University presents a public lecture titled “Portrait of a Village, Ukraine,” by Lida and Mišo Suchý on April 28 in Northen Auditorium on the W&L campus at 5 p.m. The lecture complements a photography exhibition of the same name that is currently displayed on four walls and two levels in Leyburn Library on campus.
The lecture and art exhibition are free and open to the public.
Lida Suchý is an award-winning photographer, and for more than 25 years, she has captured communities primarily through portraiture. As a Fulbright Scholar and Guggenheim Fellow art photographer, her work has focused on Ukraine. She’s also a first-generation American and the daughter of Ukrainian refugees. She earned her master’s degree from the Yale University School of Art. She has taught master workshops in the United States, Italy and Ukraine.
Mišo Suchý, an associate professor in the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University, where he teaches film, is originally from Czechoslovakia. He works with both still and moving images; photography and film often intersect and complement one another in his creative work.
The Suchýs are the parents of current W&L student and Johnson Scholar Marko Suchý ’24.
Lida Suchý began the project that culminated in part of the collection currently displayed at W&L in the early 1990s, not long after the Soviet Union collapsed. The photographs featured in the exhibition are from the village of Kryvorivnya in Ukraine.
“I photograph mostly with a large 8×10-inch view camera,” said Lida Suchý. “Photographing with this cumbersome tool is a slow and somewhat tedious process. It requires patience on both sides of the lens. The portrait sessions are meeting points between the people in front of the camera and the photographer on the other side.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, Lida Suchý contacted W&L President Will Dudley to propose the idea of an on-campus exhibit of her work documenting a village community in Ukraine. The university’s Center for International Education, the Museums at W&L and the University Library subsequently collaborated to coordinate the exhibition.
“It has been a pleasure to work with the W&L Museums and the library to organize what is a truly poignant exhibition of images from Ukraine,” said Mark Rush, director of the Center for International Education and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law. “Lida and Miso’s generosity in offering the exhibition and public lecture has been rivaled only by the speed and ease by which they made it possible to organize their visit. The power of the imagery in the photographs is testament to Lida’s ability to capture a moment. Their public talk is certain to offer tremendous insight into the current situation in Ukraine.”
In a 2016 New York Times article about her photographs, Lida Suchý said the following about Ukraine: “Most of the news coming from Ukraine focuses on the war, the violence, the destruction and extreme problems that are stereotyped. I wanted to show the everyday life of ordinary people. I really feel a kinship with them. I would like to transfer, if possible, that sense of touch, that sense of closeness that I feel with the people.”
Lida Suchý’s photographs are in public collections at the Brooklyn Museum, the Eastman Museum Rochester in New York, Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art and the Ivan Franko Museum in Kryvorivnya, Ukraine.
Read more about the artist and her work here.