Support of young Ukrainian artists

In most cases, artists in Ukraine fail to protect their rights. Obviously, there are known reasons of their own for this situation, which reasons are related to the duration of a potential dispute on copyright infringement, sometimes, dim prospects of obtaining a fair and considerable compensation for the infringement as compared to European and American experience in similar category and, as a result, the reluctance of persons whose rights are violated to get involved in costly and exhausting negotiations process and wiggery. All that gives rise to legal nihilism that has already become common for all, both on the side of wrongdoers and the right holders themselves who, through their tacit “consent”, encourage further and further violations.

Even known artists face the violations of their rights. In July last year, Aequo Law Firm protected the copyrights of known Ukrainian sculptor Nazar Bilyk to the sculpture Rain that was used in advertising without the author’s consent. Despite the fact that copyright infringements occur commonly, the protection of such rights in Ukraine is not very popular, moreover, in the area of art. We, naturally, want to demolish this “legal” stigma.

Aequo Law Firm is one of the leaders in the market of providing services in the area of intellectual property, our attorneys are internationally known experts who know the “legal” side of art in every detail.

Art is capable of forming the future, it facilitates the development of lateral thinking and innovations. For us, as the socially responsible business introducing the principles of sustainable development and ESG in its activity, it is important to support the MUHi competition since it discovers new names in the Ukrainian art and promotes the reinforcement of the image of modern Ukraine. We are also glad to have this opportunity to take part in the awareness programme and help young artists to understand legal aspects of business in the area of art,” comments Anna Babych, Partner, Aequo.

SOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM (what decision was made; the time line of implementation of the decision made; description of the decision itself; what techniques were used; citation of a top manager why such decision was made; whether there were any organisational / technical difficulties related to the solution of the problem; which difficulties were overcome; how much funds, time, other resources were spent to implement the decision made)

When speaking of the time line of the project, it should be noted that, since it is based on the competition, it was held according to the following criteria:

•          young Ukrainian artists of 21+ years shall take part in it;

•          Ukrainian nationals only may participate;

•          finalists and winners of the competition are elected by a panel (from 2015, international panel) of experts comprising curators, directors of museums, art centres, galleries, fine art experts, and painters enjoying a high reputation in the professional art world;

•          an artist may become a MUHi finalist only once.

Participants of the 2021 project (short list):

Nastia Didenko (Kyiv)

Yulia Zakharova (Kyiv)

Oleksandra Kadzevych (Odesa)

Olena Kovach (Lutsk / Krakow)

Olha Kuziura (Mostyska / Lviv)

Zoia Laktionova (Mariupol / Kyiv)

Anna Manankina (Kharkiv)

Pavla Nikitina (Kyiv / Brno)

Oleksandr Sirous (Kharkiv / Kyiv)

Maria Stoianova (Kyiv)

The 2021 MUHi international team of experts includes:

Dmytro Holets, Curator, Co-Founder, the Auction House “Korners”

Oleksandra Homeniuk, Art Historian, Director, the Hales Gallery

Illia Zabolotnyi, Art Expert, Curator, the Arts Programme of the British Council in Ukraine

Gunnar Kvaran, Director, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo

Anastasiia Platonova, Culture Journalist, Art Critic, Culture Manager

Oleh Sosnov, Curator of Visual Projects, Collector of Works of Contemporary Ukrainian and Foreign Artists

Ulf Hausbrandt, Director, the Austrian Cultural Forum Kyiv

Lesia Khomenko, Painter, Curator, and Tutor, the KAMA Contemporary Art Evening and Two-Year Programme

Nataliia Shpytkovska, Director, the M17 Contemporary Art Centre

Daryna Yakymova, Art Expert, Director, Contemporary Art Sector of the National Museum of Art of Ukraine, Curator

Within the framework of the MUHi project, Aequo provides practical advice to artists thus enabling them to understand how to protect their copyrights, what methods there exist to do so, when relations result in an agreement, etc. This year, we prepared cool infographics for artists and interesting series of posts on Facebook –#ArtLovesIP (the coverage is 20,000).

Since MUHi is an independent eco system, we intend to create a separate practical course for artists taking into account the need for it and the cases dealt by attorneys of Aequo almost on a daily basis.

The total cost of the project is rather hard to calculate since it comprises many components. The prize fund of the 2021 MUHi competition totals UAH 70,000. The winner will get the prize of UAH 40,000 and will have the opportunity to implement his/her own project at the premises (or under the auspices) of the Shcherbenko Art Centre in 2022. Also, an international panel of experts will choose two winners who will get prizes of UAH 15,000 and institutional funding for the implementation of their own show project.

Moreover, the book MUHi 2009-2021 was presented, which book was created to picture the 12-year history of the competition and, at the same time, try to fix changes and trends in the young art of the relevant period of time using opinion leaders of previous experts of the competition, independent curators.

RESULTS OF THE DECISION MADE (what are the results and effects of the decision made; what effect the decision made had on the company (image, financial indicators, awareness, confidence), what would happen if such decision was not made; detailed description of the results, possibly with the use of figures, indicators, what was learned).

Over the period of support, we witnessed a transition from the idea to the construction of a whole sustainable eco system where the freedom of self-expression and courage prevail. MUHi in 2021 is not just a competition but includes educational panels within the framework of the event, meetings with leading experts in the area of art, discussion of recent trends in art, evaluation of works.

The 2021 MUHi competition received 357 applications (40% more than at the previous competition) from artists and art groups from various cities of Ukraine (Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Sevastopol, Poltava, Chernihiv, Rivne, Khmelnytskyi, Vinnytsia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kropyvnytskyi, Kryvyi Rih, Kamianets Podilskyi, and smaller towns in Kyiv, Odesa, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk, Zakarpattia, Cherkasy, Ternopil, Rivne, Zhytomyr regions), and also from abroad (Krakow and Wroclaw, Praha and Brno, Vancouver, Vienna, Zurich, Hage, Vilnus, Dahabu, Bar, Vantaa).


Having adequately recognised experience in awareness activity, we clearly understood that it was the most effective lever capable of fundamentally change the situation in the domain of art in the country. Already now, we see quality changes (though slow) in comparison with 2009 when the first MUHi competition was held. However, these very prospects inspire and bring hope that we will be able to create required conditions in terms of legal framework for a prosperous art market and become competitive worldwide.

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