A solo 5 hours duration performance by Maria Proshkovska, which took place on 17 September 2023 in Bologna, in one of the largest and most powerful museums of contemporary art in Italy, MAMbo - Museo D'Arte Moderna di Bologna/ex Forno Del Pane.
Curated by Lorenzo Balbi and Giulia Pezzoli.
"Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has forced millions of Ukrainian women and children to ask for protection in different parts of the world. In the same way Maria and her son Illya came to Bologna, where the city's commune and MAMbo provided them with shelter. When such terrible things as war happen, the very most basic things are the most valuable. Things that have been the foundation of human society for thousands of years: safety, roof, and food - daily bread.
A focal point of city life, MAMbo has become a source of inspiration, work, and new relationships for the artist. The institution today fulfils the same role that another one on the same site did in the past. One of the largest public ovens in southern Europe - Forno Del Pane not only acted as a guarantor of hunger prevention in the region, creating opportunities for all people in need to feed their families, but also served as a platform for social communications and developing the society.
Bologna has always been open to progress, very hospitable and has developed social initiatives. Curiosity and openness to others is a distinctive feature of Bolognese people, and this is the reason why the Ukrainian artist and her son became part of the cultural life and people's lives. This special ability to be heard in the city prompted Maria to create a performance that is not only an act of gratitude to Bologna, but is also closely connected to her suffering homeland. In this way, the artist wants to continue to speak about the need to support Ukraine and remind us that the war continues to destroy all, even the most fundamental spheres of people's life as well as global world food safety.
Referring to the endless cycle of the millstone, Maria metaphorically traces the commonality of human experience and, in this utilitarian way, highlights the unified basic values that are understandable and important to everyone. Giving up her physical effort and time, the artist makes flour for 5 hours from Ukrainian grain burned due to the direct missile hit of russian aggression in front of the city's residents and visitors. Just like years ago, the same place between two chimneys* attracts people to join the process of bread making and growth of hope. The hard physical labour of a graceful young woman and the grain burning from a direct missile hit reminds us of the high price Ukraine is paying for the harvests of recent years, where a wheat field has become a real battlefield.
We can only state the fact that today cultural institutions are a kind of guarantor of our humanity and honesty with ourselves, our points of attraction. Just as the public oven was the core of what it means to be a city, our temples of cultural treasures are the core of what it means to be a human being."
*One of the largest public ovens in Italy - Forno del Pane built in 1915 by the mayor Francesco Zanardi and now home to MAMbo.