Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas will host a photo exhibition showing the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, before and after the invasion by Russia, the first showing of the “heartbreaking” pictures in North America.
Pappas will open the exhibit, “MARIUPOL. Life on the edge of apocalypse,” with a reception inside her first-floor offices on Thursday, June 22 at 3 p.m. at the Cook County Building, 118 N. Clark St., Room 112.
The exhibit features dozens of photos by Mariupol photographers depicting life in the port city, located off the northern coast of the Azov Sea, before and after the Russian invasion. Prior to the Russian invasion in February 2022, Mariupol was the tenth-largest city in Ukraine, with more than 425,000 people. A brutal and unrelenting bombardment obliterated the once vibrant city, whose population has fallen below 100,000. The United Nations estimates that up to 90 percent of the city’s multistory residential buildings have been destroyed or damaged.
“The images are searing,” said Pappas. “The juxtaposition of the photos depicting the happy life before the war and the heartbreaking images of loss and suffering is truly unforgettable.”
Mariupol and its surrounding region was once home to one of the largest and oldest groups of ethnic Greeks outside of Greece. Ethnic Greeks were the third-largest ethnic group after Ukrainians and Russians. They founded the city of Mariupol, which translates to “the city of Mother Mary.”
The exhibit has been on display in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece, and New Delhi, India, and Pappas said it was an honor for her office to be the first site in North America to showcase the photos.
The photos were taken by Victor Dedov, Olena Sugak, Sergiy Makarov, Alina Komarova and Lev Sandalov. They will be on display on the walls of the Treasurer’s office until August 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.