Ukrainian literature is difficult – and so is Ukrainian history. The literature is difficult because Ukrainian people had to go through many ordeals which surely left their mark on the art of Ukrainians. Ukrainians usually study a part of those difficult poems and essays in school, in time, when most part of the pupils are not ready to understand the deep connotations of the works they study. As a result, many Ukrainian teenagers after graduating from schools keep the impression that Ukrainian literature is something weird and not very interesting. When a person has such a conviction, it is very difficult to make him or her interested in Ukrainian literature again. Therefore, we tried to invent some sort of cognitive mechanism which would turn Ukrainian authors that one would dream of having killed in Ukrainian literature lessons into those one would dream of having a picture of on oneself.
That was what we thought before making Litttattoo project, in which we combined quotes by Ukrainian classic authors, temporary tattoos from our childhood, and brutal style of old school tattoos. We looked through the works of Ivan Franko, Maksym Rylskyi, Taras Shevchenko, Lesia Ukrayinka, Ivan Kotlyarevskyi etc. to find the lines which anyone could cite or at least finish even if woken up in the middle of the night. For instance, one of such phrases is "Реве та стогне…" ("Reve ta stohne…" or "The mighty Dnieper…" as translated by John Weir), which anyone in Ukraine could continue with "Дніпр широкий…" ("Dnipr shyrokyi…" or "Roars and bellows…" as translated by John Weir). We put those quotes on decal and asked tattoo artists to help us make them look cool.
"Looks nice, and it doesn't blunder your skin like ink!" – said a grandma which walked past our mount on "Knyzhkovyi Arsenal" Festival. For us, showing our littattoos on an offline festival was a unique chance to get some feedback from people for whom we did this project. We placed littattoos on parents and children, on writers and politicians, on hipsters and on celebrities. But the best part of all that was the fact that one of our customers took those littattoos to Pishchane village in Cherkasy oblast, where she gave them to the children during Ukrainian Literature lesson. That's how the new and fresh view on classic Ukrainian authors got where we wanted it to get – to the Ukrainian schools.