Another year of war
The first issue of Solomiya felt immediately exciting and important. It was the first time I’d seen a magazine made by a group of young people living in a country at war, reflecting on the terrible reality of the situation they found themselves in, while also expressing a sense of their own individuality. The second issue reads as a clear continuation of that project, with artistic responses to the war in Ukraine, and profiles of organisations working to help the country’s citizens and armed forces, alongside QR codes that allow readers to donate and support them.
But there’s a slightly different tone to this issue, reflecting the fact that the magazine is now being published in the second year after the full-scale invasion. In the introduction the editors note that, “The war has become part of us, and we have become part of the war.” The sense of defiance is still there, but there’s also a recognition that nobody who is living through this war is escaping it unharmed.
There’s also a strong emphasis on the parts of Ukraine that have been fighting Russia, or Russian-backed forces, for a lot longer than the last year. Stories by people from the Donbas and Crimea show their personal perspectives and demonstrate the results of being displaced or repressed from 2014 onwards. Photo essays play a strong role, with images presented first and the text after, increasing the reader’s sense of dislocation and confusion.
It’s a powerful and often uneasy read, and I hope the video above gives a sense of what this unique magazine does so well.