Saturday, July 20, 2024

Ukrainian photojournalist bringing virtual reality exhibit detailing war devastation to LSUS

by BIZ Magazine

SHREVEPORT – World-renowned Ukrainian photojournalist Mykola Omelchenko is bringing an immersive virtual reality exhibit to LSUS in which participants can experience the devastation to Ukrainian cities and neighborhoods as a result of the Russian invasion.

The exhibit will be at LSUS on March 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Noel Memorial Library. The exhibit was originally planned to appear in January but was postponed because of the winter storm.

Attendees can visit the exhibit at any time during that period, located on the third floor of the library.

Omelchenko is a veteran photojournalist who used a drone to photograph the damage in places like Bucha, Irpin and Borodianka as well as major cities like Kyiv, Kharkiv, Sumy and Chernihiv.

With a VR Oculus, attendees can walk down the streets of these locations before the war and since its onset two years ago.

“The war in Ukraine is of great importance to the U.S., so the public must be better informed on what is happening overseas, and more crucially, of the human tragedy that is unfolding in Ukraine,” said Dr. Alexander Mikaberidze, an LSUS professor of history and the Ruth Herring Noel Endowed Chair for the Curatorship of the James Smith Noel Collection. “This is not just a conflict somewhere on the other side of the planet, but rather – as (U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson) put it – this is the greatest destabilization of the world order since World War II and constitutes a national security threat to the entire West.

“All of us should be paying closer attention to it.”

Omelchenko is part of the War Up Close Exhibit Team, which is traveling around the South as part of its United States tour as it uses virtual reality technology to deliver a hard-hitting view of the damage but also the resiliency of the Ukrainian people.

The exhibition has traveled around the world in cities like Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Rome, and to locales in Indonesia, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. Attendees consisted of government officials, journalists, scientists, and regular citizens at each stop.

Mikaberidze, who has conducted a series of community lectures since the war began, said the local interest in this war encouraged him to bring an event like this to Shreveport.

“I know first-hand there is considerable public interest in what is happening in Ukraine, and I thought the Shreveport-Bossier community would benefit from having access to this exhibit,” Mikaberidze said.

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