Lia Dostleva
The Cynocephali of Donbas

The project refers to the myth about dog-headed people (“cynocephali”) inhabiting Eastern Ukrainian territories dating back at least as early as Herodotus.

Since 2014 this myth acquired new connotations. In particular, a very personal interpretation for the artist herself, as well as for the residents of the Donetsk region who were forced to leave the occupied Ukrainian territories. They learned the social alienation that prevailed in society under the influence of information manipulations, the hard way.

To work with such a complex topic Dostleva chose the practice of handicraft which is considered to be stereotypically female and ‘not serious’ form of art. The artist makes contemporary ‘cynocephali’ from pieces of secondhand fabric and plastic, creating the portraits of the internally displaced Ukrainians who agreed to participate in the project. But these ‘cynocephali’ also embody society in general, its ability to be inclusive and to deal with the traumas left by major geopolitical games.