Mykhailo Rai's Diary of the Occupation
Mykhailo Rai, a participant in the Concentration of the Will project at the M17 CAC, whose series, Diary of the Occupation, is presented as part of the exhibition at M17, was in the region under Russian occupation, Kherson, from February to November 2022.
The region, which has been liberated by the Ukrainian army, continues to suffer catastrophic and horrific consequences from the actions of Russian terrorists.
During the period of occupation and the creation of the artworks included in the series, the artist learnt from his own experience that happiness and well-being do not depend on external circumstances. "Paradise is not a place, but a state of mind," the artist says.
“In the most difficult times of your journey, the words from Rainer Maria Rilke's poem will guide you: Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”
About the artist
Mykhailo Rai was born in 1984 in Kherson, in a family of ship's cooks. He is known as the author of large-format digital photo collages with philosophical content.
Since 2014, his works have been awarded more than 60 awards at international competitions. Among them: International Photography Awards, Prix de la Photography Paris, Sony World Photography Awards, ND Awards, Tokyo International Photography Awards, OneEyeland Photography Awards. Published in international and domestic print and online publications.
He uses his creativity as a tool for self-discovery, conveying his discoveries to others through images and symbols in order to draw a map that everyone can follow.
From February to November 2022, he was under Russian occupation, making sure from his own experience that happiness and well-being do not depend on external circumstances. "Heaven is not a place, but a state of consciousness." During the occupation, he gave more than 30 interviews to international radio, TV and Internet publications about his work and the situation in the city, most of them anonymously. During this time, his works participated in 9 group and one personal exhibitions in Ukraine, Europe and the USA, visited the photo fair in Rotterdam.