Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Happy February!

I am not really sure what to make of this but I wanted to share it with you. Have you seen this amazing Ukrainian storyteller? This video has more that 12 million hits on You Tube so very possibly you have. But I just found it on the weekend.

Her name is Kseniya Simonova. She tells stories by animating sand. In this piece, the one she did for Ukraine's Got Talent (a contest she won in 2009), she tells a history of the Ukraine during the what is known in some states of the former Soviet Unions as the Great Patriotic War. The term describes the period of the Second World War from June 22, 1941 to May 9, 1945 when Germany invaded the Soviet Union.

From the Telegraph:
She begins by creating a scene showing a couple sitting holding hands on a bench under a starry sky, but then warplanes appear and the happy scene is obliterated.

It is replaced by a woman’s face crying, but then a baby arrives and the woman smiles again. Once again war returns and Miss Simonova throws the sand into chaos from which a young woman’s face appears.

She quickly becomes an old widow, her face wrinkled and sad, before the image turns into a monument to an Unknown Soldier.

This outdoor scene becomes framed by a window as if the viewer is looking out on the monument from within a house.

In the final scene, a mother and child appear inside and a man standing outside, with his hands pressed against the glass, saying goodbye.

The Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Ukraine, resulted in one in four of the population being killed with eight to 11 million deaths out of a population of 42 million.


Brian Collinson said...

Wow. That's remarkable. What I found particularly remarkable was the faces of the people in her audience as she was creating. Obviously the story Ms. Simonova was telling touched their personal stories in a deep way. Isn't this one of the marks of an artist, in whatever medium she or he may work? There is this profound human significance to story: we all need to understand and tell the stories that we are. Thank you for posting this!

risky mouse said...

i agree. i was watching the video and enjoying it as art but when they panned to the audience i saw that this was a very powerful storytelling moment. i did not know why. i read the comments and found a little and then did a bit of googling to find out more. funny how these silly tv shows have become places where moments of revelation and reflection can be quite profound.

p.s. nice to meet you brian.

Anonymous said...

I think that this gal is amazing! I have watched her "playing in the sand" before but found this latest one of the war in the Ukraine very moving.

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