Kazimir Malevich showed the tragedy of Holodomor, himself fell victim to Stalinism

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“Malevich was the only artist who showed the tragic situation of the Ukrainian peasants during forced collectivization in the USSR” – wrote Jean-Claude Markade, French art historian, and author of several books about Malevich. In 1933, Malevich painted a faceless man between a sword and a cross, known as “The Running Peasant”. It is devoted to Holodomor. The red color represents blood.

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His other pencil drawing, known as “Where there is a hammer and sickle, there is death and hunger” (words from a folk song popular in the 1920s and 30s), depicts three figures whose faces have been replaced by a hammer and sickle, a cross and a coffin.

Like many prominent figures of Ukrainian culture, Kazimir Malevich was a victim of Stalinism. The artist was planning to move from Leningrad to Kyiv for permanent residence, but in the 1930s Stalin declared war against all highly-qualified professionals from different fields including art, calling them “bourgeois intellectuals”.

Kyiv Art Academy was “cleansed” of prominent professors and artists – Lev Kramarenko, Yevhen SahaidachnyFedir KrychevskyMykhailo Boychuk, and Kazimir Malevich.

In 1930 Malevich was arrested and tortured by Soviet OGPU in Leningrad. They sprayed water under pressure in his urethra – demanding that he confess to espionage. Prostate disease and other health issues killed Kazimir Malevich on May 15, 1935.

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