Before the war, AZA NIZI MAZA (АЗА НІЗІ МАЗА) in Kharkiv was a creative space—especially for children—founded in 2012 by Mykola Kolomiets. With a focus on inclusivity, it has combined art classes on painting, graphics and sculpture for all ages; lectures on art; book projects; and shows, with the venue being “the best exhibition grounds in Ukraine.”
The main activity is on teaching. Instructors developed an approach to realize the potential of of each individual student. Classes have not been limited to techniques but also to introducing students to the modern context of art, and the history of art (in practice), showing how practitioners of different eras solved similar problems. The goal is to develop imagination and lead students to their own path and style.
On the day the Russians invaded, the AZA NIZI MAZA studio became a bomb shelter and a transfer point for many people. But creative projects are continuing despite the dangers. The current collaboration is a poster diary, “WHAT I SEE,” in which Mykola Kolomiets reinterprets students’ works in the context of wartime. This project has received a lot of attention in Ukraine and abroad.
“Because of the war, we put classes in the studio on hold, but we have launched the classes at one of the Kharkiv metro stations,” notes Mykola.
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