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A Fairy-Tale Ending -- With a Twist

One of the "Sleeping Beauties" on display at Ukraine's National Art Museum in Kyiv.
One of the "Sleeping Beauties" on display at Ukraine's National Art Museum in Kyiv.
It's not your traditional fairy tale. Sleeping Beauty is wakened from a hundred years' slumber by a kiss. But the kiss is from another woman.

That was the outcome of a recent living-art installation at Ukraine's National Art Museum in the capital, Kyiv.

The "sleeping beauty" exhibit, the brainchild of artist Taras Polataiko, ended Thursday (September 6) with the "beauty," a young woman named Jana dressed in bridal whites and seemingly asleep on a makeshift bed, waking to the kiss of a female visitor, a woman named Katya.

At the launch of Polataiko's "living fairy tale" late last month, the apparent goal of the project had been marriage. Both the young women-beauties as well as their potential suitors signed contracts pledging them to matrimony if and when the fateful kiss was delivered.

Several of the beauties professed excitement at the launch of the exhibit, saying they expected "fate" to unite them with their mystery "soul mates."

It is not clear, however, that Jana and Katya will make that march to the wedding office. For one thing, gay marriage is far from legal in Ukraine, where the country is currently preparing fresh legislation cracking down on "gay propaganda" and LGBT rights.

More to the point, neither of the women appears to be gay. Both women joked about the situation, telling RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service they had been surprised and amused by the outcome.

In a season of Pussy Riot and Femen's topless protesters, the conclusion of the "sleeping beauty" exhibit was thoroughly of the times.

-- Daisy Sindelar

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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