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(Archive) Home(Land). UKRAINE.

Narratives on Home(Land) by Ukrainian and Dutch-based creatives

This project was part of DDW 2022
Gunya_Mycelium #2 — © Alex Blanco

The intimate relationship of Ukrainians with their land was abruptly broken, they were forced to discover a new sense of home, and adapt their beliefs, traditions and rituals. Home(land) retranslates Ukrainian identity through eco & bio based materials, exploring a bond between crafts and innovation


What defines Home(land) beyond the notion of a country/state one was born in? What emotions, memories and sensations do we associate with Home(land)? Is the notion of Home(land) relocatable? Can we (re)create Home(land) in a different place? If we lose home(land) – how do we then find it again? If one's home(land) is threatened, how to protect it, and if attacked - how to defend it? If Home(land) is suddenly taken away - what does one do to reclaim it, and if destroyed – how does one rebuild it? If nothing is left – how to rebuild/regrow/recreate Home(land) from scratch?


How does a particular land area, marked by political boundaries, contribute to one's sensation of (home)Land? The land we live on, the ground & soil with its specific natural resources and habitat and the connections we’ve built with it throughout generations, broadly define our identity and sense of belonging. Our practices, techniques and perceptions are built on complex relations with our (home)Land.

What happens when war takes the physical and tangible (home)Land away? And on a bigger level, so might global warming and potentially approaching natural and technological disasters. The basic fundamental commodities of (home)Land on both local and global levels are threatened.

As a cross-disciplinary group of Ukrainian and Dutch-based creative practitioners, researchers and scientists we pondered over past and current Ukrainian narratives and rituals on land, (re)discovering authentic site-specific crafts and techniques. Through collaborative material, knowledge and skill exchange we collectively embodied our visions of (home)Land in a series of objects, and processes, that tell stories, ask questions and offer new perspectives to look into the future with hope, not fear.

Home Land

Combining authentic Ukrainian techniques, closely aligned with nature with cutting-edge knowledge on bio-design and sustainable development in the Netherlands, we address topics of Home, Land and Home(Land) through the concept of Home beyond the place of origin and using material research as a framework.

What feeling provides a notion of Home away from home?

Gunya, a traditional Ukrainian coat, originally worn by shepherds in the Carpathian Mountains, is a shelter on the go in itself. Providing protection from natural elements, it also serves to its owner as an amulet. Using classical Ukrainian Gunya as a template, we tell stories of local materials, and natural components, as well as co-creation with other species.

Sharing a hearty meal with our beloved ones, drinking a warm beverage from a favourite mug, or cooking soup using a family recipe – might be a way to feel at home, wherever one might be. We use a laid table as a symbol of a sense of belonging. Various table setups tell stories about people, war and land.

These two storylines reflect on today and glance into the possible tomorrow. Towards a Home(Land) that we will grow, restore and upcycle together.

Gunya_Wool Borsch — © Alex Blanco

Gunya_Boeren Tesselaar — © Alex Blanco

Gunya_Kozovannya — © Alex Blanco

Gunya Fabulous Fungi — © Basse Stittgen