Julia & Maxim Voloshyn: Ukrainian gallerists in Miami uncertain about the future (includes video story)

As the Russian government continues its attack on Ukraine, Julia and Max Voloshyn, Ukrainian gallery owners based in the United States, have suffered for some time now what many of their countrymen are experiencing– living outside their homeland and seeing all their country’s chaos from far away.

It has been a month since Russian leader Vladimir Putin decided to attack his neighboring country. Thousands of families suffer from the terror and doubt hanging over Ukraine. Others have lived in the United States for years and suffer from the distance.

This Ukrainian couple founded Voloshyn Gallery in October 2016 in Kyiv. It is a gallery that specializes in contemporary art and is committed to integrating Ukrainian work in the world and presenting a diverse exhibition program.

The gallery has participated in numerous fairs and events during the last two years, such as The Armory Show in New York, Vienna Contemporary, Nada Miami, EXPOCHICAGO. Zhanna Kadyrova’s solo presentation for the Voloshyn Gallery received the Pulse Award (2018) at the Art Pulse Fair.

In an interview with the journalist Raymond Elman conducted through Zoom for Inspicio magazine, Max said, “In April, we’re going to be here because we are planning to organize a charity auction with mostly American and Ukrainian artists to support Ukraine.” Later his wife Julia added, “We would like to go to Ukraine, but we don’t know if they’ve destroyed Kyiv and our gallery. It’s impossible to go back now.”

These and many more Ukrainian artists and gallery owners have recently become known due to the tensions between Russia and their country. To be more specific, through an article written by Miami journalist Brett Sokol for the New York Times, the Voloshyns have felt a direct impact from members of the public interested in their shows. “Now we have 50 people calling us every day, not just to come by and say hi, but also to see a show,” said Max.

This coming April, the couple is hosting an exhibition at Miami’s Fredric Snitzer Gallery where all proceeds from sales will be donated to organizations to help their country. “We are doing our best to support Ukrainian art, to support this situation,” Volosyn says.

In addition, every year, his gallery welcomes new and young artists in order to introduce them to the world and show a type of art that is never usually exhibited in his gallery, “I think it is very important to work not only with established artists but also emerging ones, but now it’s impossible for us to work in Ukraine.”

When asked about their country’s conflict with Russia, Max Voloshyn said, “It’s not so easy, it’s not going to finish fast, but people actually from Russia can stop this. I think people don’t understand what is happening, the whole situation. I have read that Putin planned this war for several years, not just for one month.”

The Ukrainian couple will work in Miami until the middle of April. Later, they plan to participate in NADA, an art fair in New York. But after that, nothing is clear because of the war.

“We don’t know what we should do because we were planning to go home in March, but now it’s complicated. We can’t go home,” he added.

Carles Mascaro Serradilla is a Senior exchange student majoring in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication at FIU, and in Law at his original Spanish University. He also works for the PantherNow newspaper in the sports section.