Invisible Women: Portraits of Aging in Ukraine
Photographs by Ashley Bigham and Watercolors by Grace Mahoney

Lane Hall Gallery

204 S. State StreetAnn Arbor, MI 48109-1290

Thursday April 28–Thursday August 18, 2022

In this exhibit, artists Bigham and Mahoney investigate the visibility and social role of Ukraine’s older generation of women embodied in a figure both iconic and ubiquitous: the babusya. Seen in public transport, in the market, and on the street, each babusya has a story to tell. Each has something to say, something to gossip about, and something to complain about. 
The current generation of Ukrainian grandmothers carry with them deep and complex memories that reflect the traumatic histories they have lived through. These experiences make them unexpected agents of protest and resistance to corruption, intimidation, and war. But they are also an extremely vulnerable population with little access to aid and technology. Since the onset of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine in 2014, many of them have lost their homes and some of them have lost their children and grandchildren. The generation called, “The Children of War” are now seniors of war. This exhibit endeavors bring visibility to these grannies. It’s an invitation to look closer, to see the stories which are written on their faces – they are old and tired, but not invisible.

ASHLEY BIGHAM is an Assistant Professor at the Knowlton School of Architecture at the Ohio State University and co-director of Outpost Office. She has been a Fulbright Fellow in Ukraine, a MacDowell Fellow, and a Walter B. Sanders Fellow at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. 
GRACE MAHONEY is a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the IRWG Graduate Fellow for Exhibits at the University of Michigan. In 2014-15 Grace lived in Ukraine on a U.S. Student Fulbright fellowship.