On April 12, an unusual mini-sculpture was unveiled on the facade of the first building of the Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, which faces Museum Square. It is called "Sugar Beet" and is dedicated to the Kyiv sugar merchants who initiated the creation of the Polytechnic Institute in Kyiv at the end of the nineteenth century and supported its construction and arrangement at their own expense.
Therefore, the "Sugar Beet" on the wall of the historic building #1 is not just another interesting art object on the territory of the National Technical University of Ukraine "Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute", but a symbolic tribute to Kyiv patrons who gave a significant part of their income from sugar production to the development of the city. And yes, it was opened on the 125th anniversary of the university.
This is also the thirty-ninth sculpture installed on Kyiv streets as part of the "Look!" project by Yulia Bevzenko, a well-known blogger and tour guide who is also called the "city manager."
"We introduce people to the history of Kyiv through bronze mini-sculptures. Each of them is dedicated to a specific fact from its past," Yulia Bevzenko told about her project at the opening ceremony of Buryachok, "It would seem that there is nothing complicated about it: Kyiv's history is very old, there are many facts, so you can install sculptures every day. But we are very meticulous about choosing a place and put the meanings in our sculptures that are really worth it." You can find out more about the project and the history of each place where the miniatures are installed on the "Shukai" website. It's easy to access by scanning the QR code on the sign next to the Beetroot.
This particular sculpture was sponsored by Dmytro Synenko, a 2017 graduate of the KPI, entrepreneur and volunteer. He joined the project last fall, immediately after the large-scale rocket attack on Kyiv on October 10. Exactly six months later, he and Yulia Bevzenko, to the applause of the audience and the sound of spring rain, opened the red cufflinks that had been hiding a new artifact in his alma mater from prying eyes for a while.
"I joined the project not only because the university turns 125 this year, but also because I studied here, my girlfriend studied here, my parents studied here," he shared the reasons that prompted him to help realize the idea of creating a symbolic beetroot. "I have been helping talented young people for several years now at the Techno-Ukraine project and other competitions. I also want Kyiv residents and guests to be interested in the history of Kyiv and study it. So I am sure that the Sugar Beet will help with this and draw people's attention to the history of the city and this particular place."
The idea of installing Sugar Beet on the wall of the Main Building was somewhat unexpected even for KPI students. This was stated at the opening by Natalia Seminska, Vice-Rector of the University for Educational Work: "When yesterday during an informal meeting with students I asked them which vegetable or plant, in their opinion, began the history of our university, none of them mentioned beets. And when I told them about its role in the creation of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, it made them realize that everything starts with a simple thing. And how great things can grow out of a simple thing."
This is the third bronze miniature installed in Kyiv after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the founders and participants of the project. The symbolism of the first two - "The Ghost of Kyiv" and "Palianytsia" - is directly related to the war that Ukraine is waging against the aggressor today. And "Sugar Beet" is again about the history of Kyiv and, in particular, its largest and one of its most famous universities.
But even though this time the theme of the mini-sculpture was purely peaceful, the war did leave its mark on its creation. And it was not just the power outages. When asked by journalists about the difficulties in making this cheerful beetroot, its author, sculptor and jeweler Yuriy Bilyavsky, answered: "It used to happen: you start making something and it's rocket fire. It happened not only with the Beetroot, but also with the Palyanytsia: we didn't have time to make it, and then several dozen rockets flew at Kyiv. But life goes on, we are working and giving Kyiv residents positive vibes."
For each of the nearly four dozen small art objects, the project authors have come up with a sign to encourage people to look for them. According to Yulia Bevzenko, the sculpture "Sugar Beet" invites: "Rub me - make your contribution." "Today we know who to help. Anyone can be a patron, a benefactor, a volunteer. You don't have to be a millionaire to do this," she added in the end.
"Sugar" history of KPI
Bronze beetroot is a new decoration of the campus. It appeared on the facade of the main building of the KPI from the side of Museum Square.
It is a part of the urban project "Shukai!" that tells the history of Kyiv.
The mini-sculpture of sugar beet will draw the attention of students, citizens, and guests of the capital to the history of our institution.