Community Resource Program: Taras Polataiko
(items sourced by Polataiko for delivery to frontline defenders in Ukraine)
Taras Polataiko is an artist from Chernivtsi in Ukraine. He received his undergraduate training at the Moscow State Stroganov Academy of Industrial and Applied Arts and, after emigrating to Canada in 1989, completed an MFA at the University of Saskatchewan. His practice engages directly with political history and memory, in particular investigating his own experience as an artist from Ukraine.
In 2014, following the Revolution of Dignity (also known as the Maidan Revolution), just before the Russian invasion and subsequent annexation of Crimea, Polataiko returned to Ukraine, resettling in his hometown. His first body of work upon his return was War: 11 Portraits, a travelling exhibition of portraits of wounded Ukrainian soldiers from the early days of the war.
In February of 2022, this ongoing war saw an intensification of hostilities with the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. Despite expectations, Ukraine has kept the invasion at bay, recently seeing dramatic reversals in the retaking of Kherson by Ukranian forces. One of the driving forces behind the successful defence of Ukraine has been the rallying of civilians to the cause, supporting the defenders of Ukraine both symbolically and materially. Polataiko has been active in these actions, raising money for needed tactical supplies, establishing supply routes to get these supplies to civilian defenders on the front lines, and raising awareness of the needs and challenges that Ukraine currently faces. One of the main routes he has been using for fundraising is his Someone Prays for You website, which has artworks by a range of artists available for sale, the proceeds of which are used to purchase supplies needed by civilian defenders.
Polataiko’s practice and commitment to countering imperialism is emblematic of the sorts of artists the Community Resource Program was established to support, and we are pleased to announce that he is the next participant in the program. The Community Resource Program provides resources to artists who are active in struggles for social justice. This support is provided without expectation of any specific outcomes or products. Instead, we trust the artists we are supporting in this initiative as experts in their field and are best situated to direct these resources as needed.
To support his project supporting frontline civilian defenders, please visit:
For more information on Polataiko and his recent projects, see:
(image of Cradle, 1995. Nickle-plated cart-iron bathtub containing (radioactive) human blood. Courtesy the artist.)
Developed at the beginning of the pandemic, the Community Resource Program is focused on supporting artists who are active in the fight for social justice. To date, the CRP has supported the work of Rana Nazzal Hamadeh, Amoya Reé, Keosha Love, and Jayda Marley. This program enables AGYU to act swiftly and respond to urgent local and global concerns. We use this program now to move beyond statements of solidarity in a commitment to do the work needed to ensure that AGYU play a part in amplifying the critical voices of artists. The AGYU considers our programs as our best tool to support and be in solidarity with local and international actions and causes, and in support of artists and communities who historically and currently have been gravely silenced and/or underrepresented. Through our programs, we amplify the artistic practices, ideals, and the lives of artists. We make this statement as a form of transparency and accountability to position our programs as action — lived, continuous, and responsive. Anti-colonial actions take many forms, and we must collectively consider the most powerful, effective, long-standing ways we can utilize the platforms to which we have access.