I have spent my entire childhood, since my first days, in the building on the corner of Pushkinska and Zhukovska Street. The first gay club in Odessa, the truly iconic Tema, was several blocks away from my apartment, on the corner of Pushkinska and Derybasivska Str. Another one was right across the street from it. They were like Romeo and Juliet. I don’t quite remember which one opened first. Chornomorets, I think.
I’ve only ever been to Tema once. A quaint gypsum angel by the entrance. Unremarkable interiors.
The club’s owner fought in the Anti-Terrorist Operation. He was killed on his way back from the east.
This story has always captivated me.
The minimalist sculpture by Nikolay Karabinovych assembled of fired cartridge cases tells about the LGBT+ community and the pro-militarist discourse in today’s Ukrainian reality. The work is based on the tragic story of an activist from Odesa and owner of the Tema gay club, who went to the front as a volunteer when the military actions started in the East of Ukraine, and never came back.
April 25 - June 02, 2019