'Shukai' – Kyiv, Ukraine - Atlas Obscura

Kyiv, Ukraine

'Shukai'

A collection of miniature, symbolic sculptures hides in plain sight across Kyiv. 

Scattered across the western side of Kyiv is a collection of miniature bronze sculptures. Keep your eyes peeled, or you’ll walk right past them.

Kyiv is a city that loves monuments or memorials to historical events and people who have shaped, struggled, and fought for their country over the centuries. Be it bronze sculptures or busts of the legendary artist/poet Taras Shevchenko, monumental steel structures commemorating war victories, a memorial for the victims of Holodomor, or statues of peeing boys, Kyiv has it all.

In contrast to these large prominent and striking statues, however, there is a collection of mini sculptures scattered across the city. A project initiated in the spring of 2018 by Kyiv city guide Yulia Bevzenko in collaboration with local sculptors, Shukai (Шукай), which translates to “look for” or “search” in Ukrainian, is essentially a fun art-based scavenger hunt around the city.

Although not exactly hidden, the symbols are so small and inconspicuous they can be easily missed if you don’t first know their locations. Seeking them out allows Kyivians and tourists alike to discover the city and learn about its history without needing a guide. Scannable QR codes next to each symbol reveals the history behind its significance in the capital. Among the Kyivan symbols to be immortalized in bronze is the infamous chicken Kyiv, an elephant, a chestnut, and a gramophone. 

Know Before You Go

As is intended, all sculptures are reachable by foot in the city centre and in Podil area. The Kyiv Cake sculpture is a little outside the center but can be reached also by Metro, getting off at the Demiivska station.

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