Woman sat on steps of cathedral
Picture by Gareth Jones

Ukrainian artist’s powerful installation at Liverpool Cathedral takes Visitors on a journey of escape from her war-torn country

Katya Buchatska’s ‘Izyum to Liverpool’ provides an extraordinary window into the changing landscape of Ukraine as the artist recreates a train journey taken by so many Ukrainians fleeing war.

The installation, commissioned for EuroFestival, runs from 28 April-19 May and is free to experience

Liverpool Cathedral is preparing to welcome a poignant new art installation, which depicts the one-way journey of escape that has been taken by many Ukrainians since the full-scale Russian invasion began. Izyum to Liverpool by Ukrainian artist, Katya Buchatska, opens on 28 April and is free to experience until 19 May.

In her first UK exhibition, Buchatska delivers a heart-wrenching reminder of why the Eurovision Song Contest is being held in Liverpool instead of Ukraine. Commissioned as part of the EuroFestival cultural programme, which runs from 1-14 May in the build up to the Eurovision Song Contest, Izyum to Liverpool takes visitors on a captivating journey through the current Ukrainian landscape.

Filmed in real-time on a 24 hour rail journey from Izyum in Eastern Ukraine to the border with Poland, the multi-channel video installation gives visitors a sense of travelling on a train carriage out of Ukraine.

Illustrating just how quickly normal life can change, Izyum to Liverpool shines a light on liberated Ukrainian cities, where buildings have been destroyed by bomb shelling and artillery fire, as well as offering views of apparently stiller Western cities. The incredibly moving artwork pays homage to the spirit and resilience of the Ukrainian people.

Speaking on Izyum to Liverpool, her most ambitious installation to date, Katya Buchatska, said: “For many, the train is the only means to escape war. Railway workers are considered heroes, risking their lives to help people travel out of the country.”

Izyum to Liverpool is about the fragility of our environment, our lives and of the landscape surrounding us. It is about the loss of certainties, of home, without knowing if you will ever be able to return. It is a one-way journey. It provokes a shift in the state of mind. Even if you are farther away from the front line, and in a safer environment, this feeling of loss and uncertainty stays with you.”

The Dean of Liverpool, The Very Revd Dr Sue Jones, said: “It’s a huge honour for the city of Liverpool to be hosting The Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine and we’re looking forward to showcasing such a poignant Ukrainian artwork at Liverpool Cathedral during EuroFestival.

“We’re extremely grateful to Katya Buchatska, who is based in Kyiv, for this powerful reminder of why the event is happening in Liverpool. I would like to encourage visitors to take a moment for quiet contemplation as we reflect on the plight of the Ukrainian people.”

Director of Culture Liverpool Claire McColgan, said: “When we first read the proposal for Izyum to Liverpool we were floored by its powerful representation of the everyday in Ukraine through the medium of a train journey. Recreating this will be incredibly impactful, and given the stunning surroundings of Liverpool Cathedral, it will make it a sobering experience that will really resonate with visitors.

“Working with Katya has been a real pleasure and she is an incredible ambassador for her country and its people.”

For more information about Izyum to Liverpool and the wider events programme at Liverpool Cathedral, please visit liverpoolcathedral.org.uk.

Liverpool Waterfront