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Kseniya Simonova’s got talent

Posted on 27 February 2010 | 9:02pm

Every so often someone sends you one of those ‘you must see this’ video clips which you’re really glad you didn’t immediately consign to the electronic dustbin.  One such arrived in my inbox yesterday, and though eight minutes is a long time to be taking a punt on someone’s assumptions about how I like to spend my time, this was worth every second.

I tried it on my daughter, who is studying the Second World War at the moment for a school play she is involved in, and she too was blown away by it. I have added it below so that visitors here can see if they share our enthusiasm, and that of the person who sent it to.

I must admit, I never imagined I would be blogging on the winner of ‘Ukraine’s Got Talent’ but it really is a fabulous piece of live art. It shows a young woman, Kseniya Simonova, 24, drawing a series of pictures with her fingers on an illuminated sand table. Bear with me.

It is mesmerising. She ‘paints’ pictures that tell the story of how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II.The images, projected onto a large screen, moved many in the audience to tears and she won the top prize of about £75,000. I have to say I would put her ahead of any act I ever saw on the British or American ‘Got Talent’ versions.

She begins with a couple sitting holding hands on a bench under a starry sky, but then warplanes appear and the happy scene is replaced by a woman’s face crying, but then a baby arrives and the woman smiles again. Once again war returns and Miss Simonova throws the sand into chaos from which a young woman’s face appears. 
She quickly becomes an old widow, her face wrinkled and sad, before the image turns into a monument to an Unknown Soldier. This outdoor scene becomes framed by a window as if the viewer is looking out on the monument from within a house. In the final scene, a mother and child appear inside as a man stands outside, with his hands pressed against the glass, saying goodbye. The Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Ukraine , resulted in an estimated one in four of the population being killed.

Kseniya Simonova says: “I find it difficult enough to create art using paper and pencils or paintbrushes, but using sand and fingers is beyond me.’ No it’s not. She is brilliant. You will see panellists and audience members reduced to tears as she paints these different scenes. I hope you appreciate it as much as I did, and enjoy the fact that I’ve got through a whole blog without mentioning that the Tories don’t have a thought through policy programme for Britain. Oh damn, it just sneaked in at the end.

Enjoy the winner of Ukraine’s Got Talent. She really has.

*** Buy The Blair Years online and raise money for Labour (Labour’s got talent too)


    grateful thanks, alastair, for discovering this marvellous ukrainian talent for us!

  • Sherlock

    It is great but those of us who are down with the kids saw this about a year ago grandad

  • Mustafa Mitib


  • Robert Jackson

    After May 1997 admission to art galleries was made free.

    Yes – there was a campaign to persuade the Government to do it…and it did.

    This young lady’s art is as powerful as that of the German Expressionists. It is as powerful as Emil Nolde’s “Prophet”. It is as powerful as Kathe Kollwitz’s “Woman with a dead child”.

    Kseniya Simonova is a genius.

    Versions of both “Prophet” and “Woman with a dead child” are in the collection of the Barber Institute, University of Birmingham though they are not always on show.

    A question for David Cameron and George Osborne: Will you reintroduce charges for the public to see great art in public galleries?

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  • Mike Duncan

    Astonishing. Just a shame that Simon Cowell would probably give her short thrift if she tried it here.

  • Anne

    So glad you liked Kseniya Simonova. It made me cry especially when I watched her passion, frustration and pain through her facial expressions and movements. It is amazing the way a persons expression can be felt by the audience to such immense depths through her art.