March 17, 2023

Vasily Petrovich Hlushkovskyi, Двір загублених іграшок / Yard of lost toys

pictures are screenprints from the video in the documentation


The following post is about an art environment in Lviv, the sixth largest city in Ukraine, located in the west of the country near the border with Poland. With regard to art environments in Ukraine, 11 reviews have now been published in this weblog. This new article is the first to appear after Russia invaded Ukraine.

This weblog is not about politics, but an indication of the situation in the area where the site is located from he perspective of the ongoing war, is in my opinion indispensable. In this regard, a good source is a recent interview (end of February 2023) by Eurocities with the first deputy mayor of Lviv, Andriy Moskalenko, who is responsible for economic development.

One can read about the challenge of housing the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who had to leave their homes because of the war and ended up in Lviv. And one can also read about the attacks on the energy supply, which resulted in 40% less capacity being available. The article shows that the city's administrators are not giving up, as the title of the article says: We are finding a way to continue living.

The Yard of Lost Toys

It all began in 2009. 

Vasily Petrovich Hlushkovskyi, a bricklayer, born in the early 1960s and living in the old center of Lviv, found two dolls, which he placed in the yard behind a block of houses in the old center where he lived, assuming that the owner would find those dolls and take them back. 

However, that didn't happen.

At that time, the moment was approaching when Vasily would get a grandson. It occurred to him that he could turn the yard, which is open to the public, into a play area for that grandson, with a swing and, a sandbox. and a display of dolls, including lost ones.

So Vasily Petrovich started collecting dolls, asking friends and acquaintances if they still had dolls that were no longer played with. His neighbors also contributed to the growth of a display of dolls.

As the site became more widely known, residents from other parts of the city also brought their superfluous dolls.

People also came to bring all kinds of other things, such as toy cars, a train to play with, children's stools, all kinds of portraits, a birdcage, a pair of boots, books, old musical instruments. They were given a place in the yard or in cupboards and on shelves along the walls all around.

Gradually, the display also became a place that attracted tourists, although the site was not mentioned in tourist guides.

Exhibiting dolls in the open carries the risk of them deteriorating and becoming a pitiful sight. 

The photos all around, from a video taken in the early months of 2020, show that the dolls are generally looking good. It has been reported that Vasily Petrovich regularly got up early to check the collection and if necessary remove decayed dolls or other broken props.

People who visited the Yard of lost toys could react very differently to what they saw. 

There are people who have a pleasant experience and find the site joyful. but there are also those who refer to the site as awesome, creepy and bizarre. For example, see the more than 3300 comments from visitors to the entry related to the site on Google Maps (see documentation)

In the course of 2020, the art environment came under siege. A commentary published in June 2020 said that local women threw all the toys in the trash. The site has since been closed.

* Entry on website Camera Obscura
* Article on the website Bestportal, with some 50 photos 
* Article on the website of Ukrainska Pravda, with a series of photos

Video (YouTube, 6'33", 2020)  by Z Kamerą W Plecaku (With Camera In Backpack)


Vasily Petrovich Hlushkovskyi
Yard of lost toys
Knyazya Leva street 3.
Lviv, Lviv Oblast, Ukraine
site doesn't exist anymore
on Google Maps the site has over 3300 reviews and over 4000 photos

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