From the Guest book (1962-1988)

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From the Guest Book of the Ivan Honchar Museum, 1962–1988

After almost twenty years of involuntarily being made to wander far from my Ukraine, my heart recovered in your home, dear Ivan Makarovych. To live and create for one’s nation – this is the greatest bliss. May your future be only the best for many years to come. I bow to the ground before you, you tireless toiler, and thank you with all my heart.

Viktor Petrovsky, 28.I. 1962

Only a people of a great spirit, of great spiritual, soulful beauty can create such treasures. And one must carry in the soul a great treasure, in order to collect artistic treasures.

Yuriy Mushketyk, 4.II. 1963 [writer]

Before it is too late, we must ask this person to have his museum become the foundation of a national museum.

[signature illegible], 26.VI.1963

Definitely only here
within this blessed house
you truly feel with your soul and heart
the meaning and value of the words FREEDOM, EQUALITY, BROTHERHOOD and BLISS of all nations.
O earth, give birth to more Honchars!

Petro Boiko, 27.VII.1963 [journalist]

Our dear Makarovych, there are no words to express my delight upon seeing your unique collection, your amazing museum. I wish to thank you from my heart for what you are doing for our culture.

Artist Tetiana Yablonska, 3.X.1963

This day is like a beautiful Ukrainian fairy tale, and the artist Honchar is its wonderful sorcerer.

Lithuanian student Rashtekite, 28.III.1964

Only through the past can you see the future of our people. Your museum is the prism through which we see our Ukraine, the future Ukraine.

Worker BU-143 Vasyl Zdorovylo,
physician Kuzmenko [?] from the village of Ivankiv,
mathematician R. Tsvihun, 29.III.1964

[Translated from a Japanese entry]:

Every day of my stay in the USSR was full of emotional, happy events, but today for me is the most joyful. I will never forget the impression of your beautiful home-museum, where you introduced me to your remarkable folk art. In Japan, I also collect antique lamps but, of course, I must admit that compared to your collection, I have not accomplished anything yet. Thank you very much that you gave me the opportunity to see Ukrainian art.

Kume Saeko, artist, Okayama, Japan, 4.VII.1964

It will be an unforgivable sin if these treasures of Ukrainian folk art are smothered in this one room. We, as a people, demand space and light for these treasures, and for the hands which preserved them for generations – respect and gratitude.

[signature illegible], Kolomyia, 15.VII.1965

With thanks.

Serhiy Paradzhanov, 1.VIII.1965 [cinematographer; “Tini Zabutykh Predkiv” – Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors]

Gratitude to the nation which has created all this.

[signature illegible], 8.I.1966

I have traveled throughout Europe, have been in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria. Nowhere have I seen anything comparable –national (folk) art displayed so extensively. I am visiting this crowded shrine of national culture for the second time. And again I am convinced of how little we know about ourselves, and how little our educational institutions give us.

Leonid Kravchuk, 8.I.1966 [in 1991–1994, President of Ukraine]

People who do not know the past history of their nation, nor their own language, do not have a right to be respected. Even more, they do not have the right to exist as true patriots of their homeland.

You, dear Ivan Makarovych, are doing a great deed in helping us, the youth, to learn about our great history, art, culture of our people. For this, my great respect and a deep bow to you. Everyone should contribute efforts to this great endeavor, to make our folk culture the heritage of millions.

Mykhailo Slaboshpytsky, student of Kyiv State University, 17.IV.1966 [writer]

In no other museum in Kyiv were we able to receive such esthetic pleasure, and to imagine the ancient Ukrainian art, as we did in this small house-museum. It is so full of content and treasures of Ukrainian folk art that we bow our heads before the talent, indefatigability, and enthusiasm of the person who created this museum. Our deep thanks and wishes for many more years of life.

Artist and designer Ivan Romanyshyn [and two illegible signatures], 22.IV.1966

I completed the Kharkiv Art Institute and yet never learned about my own native art. I was under the impression that we did not have any, that we were spiritually poor. With his museum, Ivan Makarovych opened my eyes. We are wealthy.

Artist Fedir. Hlushchuk, 30.VII.1966

Having visited this beautiful museum, we want to express our wish that there should be built a large, functional, fine, and separate facility, in which all these many artifacts will find ample room, that this be a true museum of folk art of Ukraine, accessible for viewing to large masses of people. We wish that this museum be widely publicized, that the press would raise the issue of community fundraising for this institution.

Group of twenty signatures, 8.V.1967

It is a great event in the life of every person – to visit this Noah’s Ark of folk art. From all my heart I wish goodness and bliss to this home and its genius, Ivan Makarovych.

Tetiana Chernyshova, 22.III.1969 [artist]

[znaidu anhl. Tekst]

This is from the poem about Kostomarov. And for you, thank you again! Because – “You alone are equal to yourself” ??????????? [povynna tse znaty, ale…..}

A grateful Vasyl Stus, 19.XII.1969 [Ukrainian poet, dissident, political prisoner]

I have been in a few museums of Ukrainian art. Ukraine is my homeland. But never have I been as moved as I was here. For the first time I seriously thought about the fact that Ukrainian is my native language, that Ukrainian art is my own art. Dear Ivan Makarovych! My deep thanks to you for opening our eyes to our past and to our culture.

L. Hlivinska, Kyiv, 15.V.1970

Is it possible that all that I have seen here was created by one man?! Then what kind of a person is this?! Who is he? A professor, an academic, thrice an academic? Not one word, not any title can comprise within itself the immense, titanic, heroic work of this great talent possessed by Ivan Makarovych Honchar – an incarnate man of his people! Eternal thanks to you! The strongest of health! May you live a thousand years, while the talented Ukrainian people live!

People’s merited Artist of the Russian SFSR Viktor Zakharchenko, 28.II.1988

[Selected entries in the guest book [Book of Impressions] of the Ivan Honchar Museum. From the museum archives. Texts selected and prepared for publication by Yulia PATLAN, of the Ivan Honchar Museum]

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