Marfa Vasilieva


Motanka is a photo, video, and documentary project with 100 Ukrainian women refugees and 20 Dutch people about Ukrainian culture, the war in Ukraine, the tragedy of separated families, and support. It is initiated in Amsterdam in November 2022 and still is in progress.
The project included scenes showing gratitude to the Netherlands “Hugs of Support”, separated families “You are with me even you are not close by”, family ancient talisman “Motanka”.
I gathered Ukrainians and Dutch people, so they can hug each other and look into the eyes of each other, to feel… how people that we never knew before can be so close to us, without any common language. But with soulful connection and warm hug in the moment of sorrow. Ukrainians and Dutch saw each other for the first time on the 27th of November, at the project stage. I’m very grateful to all people that helped Ukrainians and I wanted to express this gratitude through art and big and supportive hugs. I wanted to show our sacral doll, so people will see and know a bit more about Ukrainian culture.

What is Motanka?
Motanka is a sacral doll 5000 years old, that was found in the Chernihiv region in Ukraine and symbolizes the connection with kin and roots.
Motankas are ancient family talismans. Symbol of goodness, prosperity, and hope.