Kasimir Malevich. Black Suprematic Square (Black Square), 1915. Tretyakov Gallery. www.tretyakovgallery.ru, CC0. Date accessed: January 13, 2023.
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Music Maria Sonevytsky, in an essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books
, reflects on how a Ukrainian phrase has transformed into a viral wartime slogan. “Good evening, we are from Ukraine,” a seemingly casual statement, has accumulated multiple meanings and layers throughout its evolution into an inclusive rallying cry for those who call the country home. “This phrase, which began as a musician’s offhand stage banter sampled into an EDM anthem, became a slogan invoked by Ukrainian politicians, soldiers, intellectuals, keyboard warriors, and their supporters around the globe,” she writes. For Sonevytsky, the brilliance of the statement is how its innocuous phrasing, at first glance a simple greeting, masks its inherent radicalism and defiance of the Russian’s state’s attempts to deny Ukraine’s existence. “The slogan works precisely because it does not traffic in the essentializing rhetoric of being Ukrainian,” she continues. “It is not for an individual declaring an identity: ‘I am Ukrainian.’ It is instead a collective, matter-of-fact statement: ‘We are from Ukraine.’ This also implies—and I still resent that this must be said, but here we are—that Ukraine exists, is a legitimate place, and contains people who claim it as home.”