A Glimpse into the Past
17. March 2021
Photo courtesy of Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center
A Glimpse into the Past is an art installation by Ohel Shovenko that was recently unveiled at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC) in Kyiv. The glass-and-brick monument commemorates the Kurenivka Tragedy, a mudslide caused by a dam burst on March 13, 1961, that killed at least 145 people.
It might not seem so at first glance, but the modest installation is a perfect expression of the 60-year-old disaster. The dam that broke was filled with industrial sewage from Petrovski Brick Plants — with the slurry that comes from the production of bricks. The installation sits on the very spot of the dam's rupture and is made from a variety of locally produced bricks, some dating back to 1843. The glass tank at top is filled with 600 liters of slurry: the equivalent waste that would have come from the production of the bricks beneath it. The last elements in Ohel Shovenko's A Glimpse into the Past are archival films of the tragedy, seen through monocles embedded in the bricks. Brick, glass, slurry, and videos combine to make what looks and acts like a periscope peering into the past.