Over 50,000 Argentinean Jews live in Israel. Most are descendants of immigrants from the infamous Pale of Settlement, the “macro-ghetto” within the Russian Empire in which Jews were allowed to live. Some settled in the so-called Colonies of Baron Hirsch, around the same time of the Aliot Alef and Bet in Israel.
Fast forward over a century, the horrors created by Putin’s Russia in Ukraine enter our homes daily. They triggered in me two sets of questions: 1. How does Ukraine not shown on television look like? What is its history, its geography, its art? 2. What is the link between the centuries-long Jewish presence in Ukraine and the story of my family’s emigration from Ukraine to Argentina?
The short documentary embedded here, “From Ukraine to Basavilbaso,” is a story of migration from a land afflicted by anti-Semitism to a land that promised freedom and opportunity. It is a story shared by millions of people.
Since the staging of my family’s story was Ukraine and Argentina, I wanted to link their story with a hopeful present. In contrast to tragedies and hardships, I framed the main story with images of the ongoing war at the beginning and present-day artists at both ends. Through my research, I discovered Daria Marchenko, Pazza Pennello, the DakhaBrakha–Monakh band, and Stepan Ryabchenko from Ukraine, to name just a few artists. From Argentina, I brought in the legendary conceptual and performance artist Marta Minujín and also a segment of the Argentum performance at Teatro Colon during the G-20 meeting.
“From Ukraine to Basavilbaso” tells the story.