The cat is a mythical, even magical creature. The project “Odessa cats” written by our columnist and a famous city guide Natalia Vlasenko
Cats have long been an integral part of Odessa, its daily life and culture. Purrs greet visitors of the courtyards, often lie lazily and imposingly in the gardens, showing out their curious muzzles from the windows or front doors. There are really many cats in Odessa!
Since 2018 there’s a project called “Odessa cats” dedicated to these nice creatures, which seems to become one of the unofficial symbols of the city. Creator of this project, the sculptor Tatyana Shtykalo, told us a little how idea of cats’ monuments came to her mind and why she’s making sculptures.
The theme of cats is taken from the environment where I live, it is such a superficial topic that it was impossible not to take it.Tatyana Shtykalo
Cats is an endless and inexhaustible topic, there are so many ideas and images in Odessa! The idea came to Tatyana in 2012, in Wroclaw, where she saw gnomes, and I got the very concept that there are miniature images, there are special routes connected with these little sculptures. It was interesting for her, as a tourist, to follow these routes and explore.
I liked this idea. In Ukraine, we also have something common, for example in Kiev there’s project “Shukaj” (“Search”), in Uzhgorod – amazing project with small sculptures of famous people.Tatyana Shtykalo
What “Odessa cats” are made for?
On one hand, the goal is to immortalize famous cats, on the other, to offer something interesting for tourist, so that he leaves the Deribasovskaya-Opera House zone and will search for sculptures and at the same time will explore other streets. We have so many wonderful streets such as Sadovaya, Nezhinskaya, Tiraspolskaya, etc.
The very first sculpture is dedicated to cat that used to live at the market (“bazar”): Bazarina.
Bazarina is an iconic figure from old times, she existed back in the 2000s. The first projects were supported by the Department of Tourism and Culture, and then by patrons and business.
Most of the cats have their own prototype. For example, at Marazlievskaya street 1, building of World club of Odessites, you can see cat Maurice sleeping at the briefcase of Mikhail Zhvanetsky, well-known Odessa writer and satirist.
Tatiana also prepares clothes for cats’ monuments. It is a common world practice to prepare costumes for sculptures. For example, in winter, cats wear hats. French cat Sofa (sitting near the entrance to Hotel de Paris) on Bastille Day, 14th July, for example, was wearing a striped scarf and a red beret, also created by Tatiana.
There are 11 art objects in Odessa at the moment, in total – 13 cats.
List of cats:
- Bazarina, Torgovaya street, corner of Sadovaya, near the New Market (entrance to meat and dairy products department)
- Cat at the wall, facade of the building #4 along Devolanovsky descent
- Cat Maurice, Marazlievskaya corner of Bazarnaya street, building of World club of Odessites
- Pushinka, a gamer-cat, Mayakovskogo lane 1
- Cat Ryzhik, a sleeping cat, Bolshaya Arnautskaya street 39
- Cat Chilik, Lanzheron beach, near dolphinarium Nemo
- French cat Sofa, Hotel de Paris, Ekaterininskaya square 4/1
- Scientist cat, courtyard of school #81, Fontnskaya road 26
- Do-re-meow, sculptural group of singing cats, at the intersection of Leontovicha street, 16A and Panteleimonovskaya str.
- Cat Siphon, French Boulevard 28, square near dacha of Anatra
- Vaska and his favorite sprat in tomato, Grecheskaya street 7
Photo credit: Stanislaw Kinka