Every year, the Ukrainian Burning Man Project gathers a team and flies to Burning Man in Black Rock. The team together prepares an installation that will represent Ukraine, share responsibilities, and prepare a program. For several years, Burning Man was not held due to the pandemic, and last year Ukraine did not participate for obvious reasons. This year, the Burning Man Project decided to renew the tradition and send all the Ukrainians who were taken by the war into the desert.
The theme of Burning Man 2023 is Aninalia, and the Ukrainians have created a giant 7 m hedgehog made entirely of rusty anti-tank hedgehogs. This very sonorously reflects what is happening in Ukraine now — the war and anti-tank hedgehogs help protect Ukrainian land from occupation. The art object The Hedgehog Temple is also a memorial:
"...dedicated to Ukrainians, they will never be able to go to Burning Man, because the war took them… We are taking our pain and grief from human losses to Burning Man. We want to tell the stories of our friends from the creative community who were taken away by the war. Artists, DJs, musicians, directors, artists, IT people, journalists… they could be with us at Burning Man, but they will never be able to do it because of Russian aggression," Yaroslav Korets, author of the idea and executor of the idea, BM2023 participant.
Inside The Hedgehog Temple will be implemented the stories and personal effects of people who will ever return home. Korets asks everyone who lost a loved one in the war to send to his office some item that is emotionally connected with this person (chevron, toy, jewellery etc.), and the Burning Man Ukraine team will add it inside The Hedgehog Temple. On the festival's last day, the hedgehog will be burned, and with it, all these objects and stories will be burned. To stay alive in our hearts.