There’s a Ghost in Town… 

…  a ghost street to be exact. Kiev is an old city and hundreds of streets have been appearing and disappearing over its lifespan. I took a walk and discovered another side of town…

A great and visible example of a ghost street is Petrivska Street, which is right in the middle of the city – just a block away from Lvivska Square. People say that it was quite a beautiful, picturesque street with a great history.  However it deteriorated during the latter part of the 20th century and the top half of this street, which connected the upper and lower parts of Kyiv, was ruined completely. The only sign of the past buildings are remains of the infrastructure (namely the drainage system) and collection-worthy hallmark bricks.

Abandoned, yet full of life – a secluded, shady place for gatherings, music, grafitti, performances and whatnot. There is something like a makeshift stage and arena seating, some kind of an ark and, unfortunately, a lot of trash. Still I look forward to going there when something is happening. I was there too early in the morning this time around.

Just a few yards down the hill a bunch of garages become visibe. They are a focal point within Kiev’s grafitti scene. One of the garage boxes is actually a can-shop so a decent supply of spray paint should be in reach during their opening hours (!!!).

Well and you may know that feeling, when you get your hands on some toys (or paint in this case), you wanna play straight away. And that’s why you’ll find quite a few grafittis all around these garage boxes… I picked the right time on a sunny morning to shoot some of these works. “Fleck”  is vivid.

Where there is sun there’s also shadow. Still that did not impact my enjoyment. What does that say?

And this one, too. Anyway, these pieces do the most important thing right – they turn grey, shitty, ugly walls into artworks!

“Etc” is all over the place there…

This is a bigger one. A lizard dude wearing a “gopnik” hat (typical for local low life criminals) really made me smile. “Fuck all toys” –  he says, that bastard 😉 Hahaha!

Looks like a couple of sprayers are competing on this wall and bomb each other. I think there are plenty of empty walls in Kiev that would benefit from a touch of paint and they spray each other’s pieces. Isn’t that a waste of paint?

The following mural was to my taste. Bold and graphic, glyphic and scriptic. Mysterious, because I don’t understand neither Arabic, nor Hebrew, nor Kanji, nor many other things here. But it looks good. I’d put this wall out on display somewhere.

A few stickers. But there need to be more to call it sticker bombing…

But there are other ways to look at this whole thing. If you go up a few steps,  the trashiness surrounding all of this becomes very much evident. All the garage roofs are trash collectors and people there seem not to have even the least respect for nature.

It is quite sad that in Ukraine this is not an exception to the rule. There are waaay too many places just like this one. But I believe Ukrainians are actually waking up slowly and there are more and more conscious people around me. I hope that my kids will see fewer picturesque places buried under tons of waste.

This was a prospering, inhabited city street until after the second world war and ot may regain a new breath of life quite soon. Properties in this part of town have soaring values and fetch millions of dollars even during the worst economic crises. Still, it would be a shame to transform this forgotten little corner into just another business or commercial center. It would be great preserve all the green there as Kiev loses more and more green zones on a yearly basis.

Method Man and the Wu Tang Clan said “Cash rules everything around me. C. R. E. A. M. Get the money! Dollar, dollar bill y’all.” – That is a global virus. And someone on the picture below wrote with little letters: “Live not by codex, but with your heart” (Живи не по понятиям, а сердцем.) The latter is much closer to the truth.

And as the walk nears its endpoint, which is an artstore, where I’m about to buy some oil paint and another palette knife, I pass under the oldest bridge in Kyiv. It has been built in the middle of the nineteenth century and it is falling apart. It is not being taken care of properly just like all other historically significant objects in Ukraine.

Here I look up to make sure that I don’t get hit with a brick…

This was a walk of discovery. I couldn’t imagine such an interesting, secluded, contrasting place just a few meters close to my daily route. This proves again that a step off the beaten path is well worth it.

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