Washington’s tribute to Taras Shevchenko

The Taras Shevchenko Memorial in Washington, DC is located in a lovely residential neighborhood near Dupont Circle.  It was completed in 1962 to recognize the Ukrainian poet and artist who symbolizes freedom in his native country.

Figure 1:  Shevchenko memorial, Washington, DC.

Figure 1: Shevchenko memorial, Washington, DC.

The memorial was supported and paid for by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America  and thousands of Ukrainian Americans.  Lev Dobriansky, a Ukrainian American economist and anti-communism activist, became a prominent advocate and lobbyist for erecting a monument honoring Shevchenko.

Figure 2:  Inscription on back of statue base.

Figure 2: Inscription on back of statue base.

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Figure 3: Inscription on rear of wall next to statue.

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Figure 4: Quote in Ukrainian from Shevchenko’s 1857 poem, The Holy Fool, on side of statue base.

While most of the Shevchenko statues I saw in Ukraine represent him in his later years, the memorial in Washington depicts a vibrant young man determined to overcome poverty and exile who would lay the foundation for modern Ukrainian language and literature.  How appropriate it is to have the Shevchenko statue in the capital city of the USA, since “…the name and works of Taras Shevchenko brilliantly reflected the aspirations of man for personal liberty and national independence.

Figure 5:  Close-up view of Shevchenko memorial, Washington, DC.

Figure 5: Close-up view of Shevchenko memorial, Washington, DC.

 

[1] Public Law 86-749″  authorizing the erection of the Shevchenko monument. United States Government Printing Office. September 13, 1960.

Gail Vallieres

April 2015

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