Blyzkist, meaning “closeness” in Ukrainian, is a project led by Maria Beburia and Taras Gembik, who arrived to Poland from Ukraine in 2014 at the age of 17. Since 2017 they have been collaborating with the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. Their work includes public programming for minorities and marginalised groups (e.g. a regular film night for homeless people), as well as animating a wider debate on how art institutions can make migrants, refugees, and other communities welcome within the institution. They were given a Trust emergency grant of £5,000 in March 2022 to response to the Ukraine crisis.
In the near future they plan to set up the “Sunflower” Solidary Community Center, which will function as a safe space for migrants/refugees, supporting their integration through art, common activities, workshops for children and adults, lessons of Polish and Ukrainian language etc. Since the beginning of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Blyzkist have been intensely working on turning the space of the Museum into a welcome and aid center, providing food, support, therapeutic workshops, cultural activities as well as collecting medical supplies and sending them to Ukrainian contacts across the border.