Major exhibition showcasing international prize-winning photographers highlights devastating conflict in Ukraine

A new photography exhibition named ‘Ukraine: The Price of Freedom’ features some 90 photographs by highly-acclaimed photographers at the University of Hull.

A group of children waiting in a bomb shelter for an air raid alert: Evgen Maloletka, Associated Press.

Running until Saturday 2 September 2023, the exhibition is open daily in the University’s Brynmor Jones Library to University students and staff, as well as the larger Hull community and beyond.

The exhibition seeks to show, alongside the horror of the war, the valour and unshakeable spirit of the Ukrainian people in the face of death and destruction.

John Bernasconi, Director of the University of Hull Art Collection, said: “It’s a great privilege to be able to bring together this extraordinary exhibition recording the war through the work of some of the world’s leading war photographers.

“Their striking and often moving images show the horror and destruction of the conflict alongside inspiring scenes of courage and hope. Among the vast media coverage of the invasion, these photographs are probably the images that will remain longest in our minds.”

One of the central images in the showcase has been taken by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Argentinian photographer Rodrigo Abd. The image shows 6-year-old Vlad at the grave of his mother, buried in the courtyard of their house in Bucha, after she was killed by Russian soldiers.

The photographs span the beginning of the war, the shock of the first rocket attacks and aerial bombardments of Ukrainian cities, and the killing of civilians in the towns of Bucha, Irpin and Borodyanka in March 2022.

Another section is dedicated to the Mariupol University (which is twinned with the University of Hull) which was ruined as a result of a Russian missile attack on 16 March 2022.

Photographs by Evgen Maloletka (winner of two Pulitzer Prizes in 2023, Guardian Photographer of the Year 2023 and World Press Photo of the Year winner) show the impact of the Russian occupation of Mariupol. Photographs by Prix de la Photographie winner, Dmytro Kozatsky, show the heroic resistance of the defenders of the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works, who were forced to fight encircling attackers while surviving underground.

There are memorable portraits of Ukrainian soldiers, doctors and firefighters in the dramatic moments of their military and everyday life. The art piece highlights numerous moments in time and will serve as a reminder of Ukrainian bravery.

A special video for the exhibition has also been created and a soundtrack has been created to accompany the exhibition.

The exhibition is now open in the Brynmor Jones Library, at the University of Hull, until Saturday 2 September. It’s open from 10am-5pm and until 7pm on Tuesdays. The private viewing takes place on Wednesday 2 August.