Ken Greenleaf in Kyiv: Talking with English language students at Kyiv Poli

by Ken Greenleaf, Artist

Ken Greenleaf is in Kyiv, Ukraine, for a show of his work along with artists from Ukraine and Sweden. He will be blogging about his experience from Kyiv. Ken had a one-person exhibition at CMCA in 2012, titled Intercept.

Spent yesterday with two English-language classes, a real treat. Dasha, who helps me with translation, teaches at the Kyiv Poli, a big school, 50,000 students and the oldest one in Kyiv. They prepared readings in English telling me about Ukriane customs and traditions, and we talked about my work a little. 

Ken Greenleaf (right) with students in Kyiv, Ukraine

It was more casual than I'm making it sound, and as they got over their reserve at having an American visitor, they seemed to enjoy it, as did I. Ukrainian identity is an overarching issue here, politically and culturally, and the difficulties they've experienced are fresh in memory. Language is a big cultural issue and a theme in its newly acquired independence. Dasha only uses Ukrainian. In the classes, though, we were just having fun, and getting to know each other as they practiced their English with a live American.