Ballina stands strong with people of Ukraine at moving exhibition to mark one year of conflict
The Ballina and Ukrainian communities stood together shoulder to shoulder at a Ballina 2023 event in Ballina Arts Centre on Friday February 24 to mark one year since the invasion of Russia by Ukraine.
Attended by Minister of State Dara Calleary TD, representatives of Mayo Council and many local organisations and individuals alongside over 100 members of the Ukrainian community in Ballina, ‘The Face of War’ consists of a poignant photo collection and video presentation compiled by Inna Kalinska and Natalia Miroshnichenko, showing life in Ukraine from the first day of the war until the present day.
The aim of the exhibition is to raise public awareness about today’s life in Ukraine, with the aim of showing what kind of country Ukraine really is, what kind of people the Ukrainians are, and how they are fighting every day for their future.
In an emotional address, curator Inna Kalinska spoke of the resilience and determination of the Ukrainian people and in particular, those who are fighting for the country’s freedom a year on, and expressed a hope that the next significant date would mark would be the end of the conflict.
Speaking at the event, Minister Calleary reaffirmed the solidarity of the Ballina and Irish communities with the struggle of people of Ukraine, referencing Ireland’s Own struggle for independence a century ago.
Representing the board of Ballina Arts Centre, Cllr Mark Duffy thanked both the local community for opening its arms to the Ukrainian arrivals, and paid tribute to the community for their resilience and contribution to Ballina through work and volunteering, and welcomed them to participate in the Ballina 2023 celebrations this year.
Efforts are now underway to recruit a number of volunteers to teach English and participate in regular English conversation sessions with members of the Ukrainian community in the Ballina area, and to put in place transport options for those living in peripheral areas.
The exhibition, which depicts Ukraine before the war and since the conflict began, will remain open and free to the public until March 10 in Ballina Arts Centre.
Donations are encouraged to the Come Back Alive Foundation: