About Us / Про нас

The origami movement in Ukraine begins in 1990 with the work of some groups of enthusiasts from Poltava, Odessa, Karkov and some others who did not know of each other’s existence. In Poltava, a maths teacher, Nikolai Yaramenko, and his daughter, Olga Soukharevskaya, became the coordinators of many origami activities in their town and in smaller towns in the region.

In Kyiv, in 2000, Larysa Osadchuk (who studied origami in Moscow since 1992) created with two other origamists, Irina Lavrik and Viktor Harik, the Origami Club of Kyiv, which organized the first International Exhibition of Origami in November 2000, in which origamists from Ukraine (kyiv, Poltava, Doneck), Russia (Moscow) and Moldavia (Kishenev) took part. This exhibition with workshops and lectures was a great success. Representatives of the Japanese Embassy were so amazed at the great interest of Ukrainians in origami, that they invited Tohikazu Kawasaki to kyiv for the following year’s exhibition. The International Origami Exhibition in Ukraine has become annual. It began to carry the name “Everything from a square” and unite more and more origamists from all regions of Ukraine. In 2006, the Embassy of Japan invited Makoto Yamuguchi to give a presentation and a workshop during the exhibition.

Kyiv Origami Club brought together professional origami artists, teachers and children from other cities of Ukraine: Poltava, Karkiv, Chernigov, Nikolaev, Odessa, Uzgorod, Ternopil, Lviv, Sevastopol, Zhitomir and others. He became the coordinator of several actions from all over Ukraine: “The cranes of memory” (action in the center of the city for the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobil tragedy in memory of the victims) and “Protect all living beings” (action environment for Earth Day, March 21, which brought together a very large audience: schoolchildren, students from institutions, social action services). The activity of the Kyiv Origami Club was carried out at the Scientific and Technical Center for Children and Youth of the Ukrainian State in Kyiv (until 2008) and with the support of the Embassy of Japan, which organized during a few years the missions of Larysa Osadchuk in different regions of Ukraine with presentations and origami workshops for universities and schools in Doneck, Lugansc, Nikolaev, Odesa, Karkov and other cities. In 2000-2013, once a month, in the Embassy of Japan, Larysa Osadchuk and some other activists of the Origami Club of kyiv (Svetlana Kulakova-Sapetna) organized origami workshops for a large audience.

In 2014, Larysa Osadchuk moved to France; the coordinator of the Club became Svetlana Kulakova-Sapetna. She organized the participation of origamists from Ukraine in various cultural events related to Japan and continues the work of the Origami Club of Kyiv via the internet (Facebook). Many very talented and active Kyiv folders have left their mark in the origami movement in Ukraine. These are the teachers – Svetlana Kozlova, Tatiana Belmega, Nina Zergeieva -, the origamists and photographers – Olga Zougheib -, the organizers and administrators of the internet resource “Origami in Ukraine” – Valery Gregoriev (Chamanaïko) -, the high-level origamists – Igor Stovbchatiy, Yaroslav Grechuh, Yaroslav Michenka, Yvan Svatko, Makar Saviak, Denis Lyalin, Alexander Youchinka – and others.

When the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, all these groups were disbanded. Many organisers had to flee Ukraine as refugees, others were displaced within the country. The priorities of organising daily survival as well as the relocation of its members and the technical difficulties of communicating with each other meant that once the war began, origami became paralysed throughout the country.

It was at this time that some foreign folders with experience in other war conflicts like in Bosnia, who believed the desirability of helping to restore and promote origami as a weapon against war became involved. When a war starts, everyone thinks of cooperating. Some send them food, medicine, winter clothes, others sell weapons to one side and on the other side at the same time. As the war progresses, however, and as trivial as it may seem at first glance, the immediate victims ask for ink and paper to publish newspapers, books, poetry, works of art for exhibitions, material and musical instruments to play concerts and all kinds of cultural activities. This is what we call food for the soul, which allows them to break, at least for a moment, the real and paranoid obsession that at any moment, day or night, they can hear the air raid sirens and have to run to a refuge. Along with this tragic situation, the people who endure it, and especially the children, need to live the experience that there exists also another world that is creative, fantastic, exciting, fun and that will mark their personality in the future, as they will also be marked by the bombs that fall on them, as well as the catastrophes transmitted to them by the media inside all the houses that still have an electrical connection.

So the anti-war cultural cooperation project is to find Ukrainian origami promoters who are still alive inside and outside Ukraine, help them get back together and stay in touch. So far we have managed to find some of them through a chat on Telegram that we have organised, from where the weekly online workshops are coordinated through internet platforms, aimed at Ukrainians displaced within their country or refugees in other countries (until now they are from Germany, Poland and France), children and adults, experienced or inexperienced folders. The workshops consist of teaching models as well as happenings and stories represented through origami. The proposition was very well received since we began this activity online almost a month ago, soon after the invasion.

Another goal and activity of this coordination group was working together with Ukrainian refugees experienced in folding to publish online folding instructions with diagrams accompanied by Ukrainian text for easy models for kids, to be used for free inside and outside of Ukraine, as well as references to the Ukrainian folding vocabulary and terminology to help inexperienced Ukrainian folding teachers inside and outside of Ukraine too.

The project is co-ordinated by: Olga Soukharevska (Ольга Сухаревська), Denis Lyalin (Денис Лялін), Ksusha Kofanova (Ксюша Кофанова), Larysa Osadchuk (Лариса Осадчук), Igor Bodnar (Ігор Боднар), Andrey Khechuev (Андрей Хечуєв), Ksenia Lullaby (Ксения Луллабі), Anastasia Epmarkova (Анастасія Єрмакова), Mayevsʹkyy Andriy (Маєвський Андрій), Azat Kadirov (Азат Кадиров), Svetlana Kulakova Sapetnaya (Светлана Кулакова Сапетная), Nick Robinson, Lee Armstrong and Joan Sallas.