Eurovision Song Contest pokes fun at Kyiv’s unfinished rainbow arch after anti-LGBT protests

Nick Duffy May 10, 2017
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The Eurovision Song Contest referenced Kyiv’s unfinished rainbow arch during last night’s semi-final.

Ahead of this week’s Eurovision Song Contest in Ukraine, Kyiv’s Friendship of Nations Arch, which was originally dedicated to the unification of Ukraine and Russia within the Soviet Union, was repainted in rainbow colours to ‘celebrate diversity’.

However, the top of the monument was left partially-painted after protests from anti-LGBT groups who claimed it was “perverted symbolism”.

Following the protests the remainder of the painting was called off, and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko told Reuters that as part of a “compromise” that the unpainted part of the arch would remain rainbow-free, and eventually be covered “with a Ukrainian decorative pattern”.

 Verka Serduchka

The Arch made an appearance during last night’s Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final, during a skit that saw Ukrainian drag comedian Verka Serduchka take a tour of the city.

In the clip, Serduchka – who memorably represented Ukraine at the contest back in 2007 with a tin-foil get-up – is shown ‘painting’ the rainbow with her ‘mother’ and a group of children.

However, they apparently run out of paint before they could finish.

In recent years a number of Soviet-era monuments have been dismantled in Ukraine, following the country’s 2014 pro-European revolution.

The Arch serves as a symbol for the city’s LGBT community ahead of Kyiv Pride, which is set to go ahead in June. It is only the third year that the Pride event has been held.

Gennadiy Kurochka of CFC Consulting, the PR company helping organise the Eurovision festivities, explained: “The Arch calls to celebrate diversity. Diversity in all its meanings: racial, linguistic, musical, sexual.

“Everyone sees a unique aspect of diversity, when looking on this art piece.

“I consider the Ukrainian society to be free and open-minded enough to respect any manifestation of diversity, which we tried to convey via this art piece.”

The famously-camp music contest attracts a massive LGBT audience from across Europe and the world, and this year’s theme is ‘Celebrate Diversity’.

Eurovision exec Jon Ola Sand said: “The notion of celebrating diversity is at the heart of Eurovision values: it is all-inclusive and all about countries around Europe, and beyond, joining together to celebrate both our common ground and our unique differences, as well as some great music”.

A spokesperson added: “Celebrating Diversity will be the key theme in all aspects of the Eurovision Song Contest from the communications, production and even the artists themselves.

“This year Ukraine will celebrate a collaboration of culture, technology and the individual creative flare of all 43 artists.”

Related: Everything you need to know about the Eurovision Song Contest 2017

Related topics: arch, Europe, eurovision, eurovision song contest, Gay, Kyiv, LGBT, rainbow, ukraine, Ukraine, Verka, Verka Serduchka

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