“Our task is to bring the truth about the events in Ukraine through arts and culture, and the Ukrainian diaspora helps a great deal with it.”
The 9th annual Ukrainian “Soyuzivka” festival took place in the United States on July 10-12, 2015. A well-known American audience and other prominent Ukrainian and American guests attended the festival. Sergiy (Foma) Fomenko took part in the charity gala for aid to Ukraine, and in May 2015 he a successfully toured through the United States.
Sergiy Fomenko (Foma) - the front man and the lead vocalist of the Ukrainian folk-pop band “Mandry” has come to America with charity concerts and the exhibition called “Maidan. Ukraine: The road to freedom.” In an interview with InLove, the singer explained why he goes through military training, how the Ukrainian diaspora helps Ukraine, and about women’s’ role in the ATO zone.
This is not your first time in America and your goals are not always concerts. Please tell us why you feel a close connection with America and what you do here in the US apart from your creative work.
The first time I was in America, was 5 years ago. It was the concert in “Soyuzivka” (Ukrainian Heritage Center) dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Ukrainian-American Plast (Youth Camp). From that time I began my exploration of United States. I come here quite often, with charity concerts and exhibitions displaying true events from the “Revolution of Dignity.” During our last visit, we presented the exhibition called, “Maidan. Ukraine. The road to freedom” in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.
Tell us about your exhibition, and a talented singer, as you are, suddenly exhibits photos and paintings?
The artists inspire me. I decided to create the exhibition after I saw the photos made of Matvey Vaisberg and his series: “The Wall”. I realized that we must show his art to many different people. Thus, I started collaborating with the photographers from Maidan, I picked the most interesting works, and I organized them into the book, adding the artifacts from the Maidan, movies about those events, and music. This entire collection has developed, as so-called art imagery about the Maidan, which we now present to the world.
Do you see any interest from non-Ukrainians about Ukrainian events?
Initially, non-Ukrinians are interested in the events. Our task is to tell the truth about the events in Ukraine through art and culture, and our Ukrainian diaspora helps us a great deal with this task.
What else can Ukrainians – who live abroad – do to help Ukraine in such tough times in addition to financial and humanitarian assistance?
Everyone does what he or she can. These are all caring and kind people who help in so many ways. The most important thing is that every citizen can do, is to bring attention to the world, what is happenning in Ukraine. I am very happy to see that we all are doing this exactly thing. It is easy to say “I have no time”, “I have my own problems” and so on… But the situation is different now, besides financial, we see tremendous support with specific things. These are: medicine and ambulances, publicity support in attracting the attention of the international community so that Ukraine is not going to be forgotten. It is important to keep talking about the events in Ukraine, and not let the war become another world crisis.
How often do you visit the ATO zone?
Our band constantly visits the ATO zone with concerts, where we support our guys and lift their spirit. We have been in Kramatorsk, Volnovakha, and Mariupol. There is another generation of Ukrainians on the battlefield. They feel that this is a purely manly to be there and to defend our country. In the ATO zone, we met a lot of heroic women, who save hundreds of lives every day. One of them is a 19-year-old girl named Yana. She is the chief physician, and she is at the forefront all the time, she is a volunteer, she carries wounded soldiers every day. This is different generation of people. They did not live through the Soviet times. They were brought up on the principles of patriotism, they listened to Ukrainian music, learned about Ukrainian culture, and they studied Ukrainian history. It is crucial for the government not to “disappoint” (betray) our people. Literally, Ukraine is being defended by its own citizens, and civilians, with help from the diaspora abroad. Sadly, the government does not help much and does not do enough work as it is supposed to.
What does being InLove mean to you?
First of all, it is love for life, for my wife, for my children, and for my friends. I can’t imagine my life without them. These are important treasures that help me move forward, they are my family, friends, and the Motherland.
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