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Fish and Fishing Motives in the Environmental Sculpture of Berdiansk, Ukraine

Nicolas works out the holistic method for studying different phenomena as human society as Nature

We Will Observe How and Why this Small Fish Became the Symbol, Almost the Totem

Bychok Knut

Bychok Knut

Man Never Forgets...

People Never Forget Their Origin From Nature

The Old Drawing

Half woman-half fish

Half woman-half fish

The Short History of the Sculpture to the Goby

  • The idea belongs to the famous Berdiansk ichthyologist Vyacheslav Myroshnikov (1942-2009).
  • City's Mayor Valeriy Baranov and the local painter Mykola Mironenko continue his efforts.
  • The Berdiansk plant "Yuzhgydromash" created this miraculous fish.
  • On the first of May, in 2001, the cheerful face of the goby as a monument appeared from fishnets

To the Goby-Breeder is the Title of the Sculpture


Vycheslav Myroshnikov

Vyacheslav Myroshnikov, ichthiologist

Vyacheslav Myroshnikov, ichthiologist

The Sea of Azov, the Favourite Place of Fish

The Azov Sea Coast

The Azov Sea Coast

Vyacheslav Stepanоvich Myroshnikov was a famous Berdiansk ichthyologist. He worked as a senior scientific worker. It was Azov Section, Southern Scientific Research Institute of Fish Industry and Oceanology. He expressed the idea of this monument in the 1980s. Vyacheslav Stepanovich took part in many sea expeditions. Moreover, he knew about submarine life of deep's inhabitants not by hear-say. As a professional taxidermist, he drafted the future monument.

His wife Tetyana remembers that he had many drafts. The desire to raise the monument to the goby, breadwinner, was very strong. In the primary variant, it had been the goby, protected its spawn from similar species. It was a little disheveled one with protuberant fins, and an open mouth.

The ichthyologist accentuates that citizens ought to raise the monument in the town. Thanks to that fish many people had survived in periods of starvation in Ukraine.

The elder generation describes people who were walking in Proletarskiy Prospect, to the sea coast. They hoped to maintain their many families.

Also, the relatives of the scientist retell about drafts with the triangle drawn with a net. A sardella stuck in it. Miroshnikov was working a long time under that project. The form of sardella wasn't changed as the goby's lines did.

Ukrainian Artist

Mironenko Mykola Terentiyovich was born on March 9, 1946, in Berdiansk, Zaporizhia. He graduated from Dnipropetrovske artistic college. Also, it was Leningradske senior artistic and an industrial college named after Mukhina, 1972. He is a member of the Association of Artists of Ukraine from 1976. In 1996, he became Isaac Brodskiy's prize laureate. He works as a painter and a sculptor.

There are his masterpieces in Ukraine and abroad. Mykola Mironenko got the title of Honoured Citizen of Berdiansk town in 2016. It happened on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of his birth.

Mykola Mironenko, Artist

Tha artist M.Mironenko

Tha artist M.Mironenko

Art of Cookery and Sculpture, the First Stage

Those times' mayor of Berdiansk Valeriy Baranov supported the idea with the Goby. He offered to realize it to the monumental painter Mykola Mironenko. His work "Leaving for the sea forever" was decorating Proletarskiy Avenue.

The master had to make fish with forms suitable to be sitting on it. The main complexity was in the choice of the posture. As the author said, the Goby wasn't going. For more trustworthiness, he had to fry fish. There were not only one ten fresh gobies on the pan of the artist. While frying, fish was twisting in different directions with unusual poses.

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Mykola Mironenko was not only frying fresh fish but was pickling it too. His friends were helping him. They were sprinkling gobies with salt and drying under the Southern sun. Due to the influence of sun rays, gobies were twisting. Thus, after long culinary experiences, he found the posture.

Goby, Breeder

Problems of Architectural Ensemble - the Second Stage

The Goby is to lie on the turned over pan,- says Mykola Mironenko. The pan itself is to rise on the marble foundation with steps. Their height was not small. On the steps children could play, bike, run. Thanks to it people could climb on the monument. In contrast, during the work he reduced many details and elements.

The pan on which the future Goby is to be lying became the first "sacrifice". Also, due to the modest budget, the pedestal with steps became unreal. And the pedestal itself appeared by chance. Valeriy Baranov told that the stone for the Goby had carried from the Yantsev's quarry. On its territory, a lot of not-standardized stone had been amassed. The permission of the quarry's director was a decisive factor.

As a present, the leaders of town chose the best-selected stone for Berdiansk. From the quarry, two marble spheres appeared in the town.

In Searching of Metal and Place - the Third Stage

The author was inventing and modeling the sculpture in Plasticine. Leaders of the town were being in search of money for metal from which must be cast in a mold the Goby. Taking into account those times hard for Independent Ukraine, the task was not easy. In contrast, there was the patron of art from Dnipropetrovsk and our not-indifferent inhabitants. They found money for 800 kg of bronze.

Using the metal, skilled workers made the sculpture hollow. Moreover, it was with thick-section castings. The workers were from Yuzhgydromash, local works. When the Goby had been ready, the question to the creative group appeared about its location. Discussions were about its correlation with environments, i.e. perspective. As it says, there are many places, but to lay, there is no place.

One was proposing even to add small wheels for transporting it all around the town. The workers directed the Goby to town's buildings and placed it in parallel to the seafront. Due to that location, banks, trees, and other things were being caught by cameras. That view was not being successful.

Due to the present landscape, you can see not only the Primorskaya Square but the sea and the summer-house. At the moment of Goby's setting the pedestal has already erected. That's why the inscription is on one side of the monument, not at the front, as a rule.

Real Situation With a Real Goby

From 26 species of goby, it remains 18 ones. The main cause of extinction is the growing of waters' salinity in the Sea of Azov due to the influence of the Black Sea.

Efforts of local authorities, Ukrainian citizens are to improve the given situation. Also, the fish factory in Berdiansk replenishes resources of the Sea of Azov. Let's hope, the environmental monument to the Goby in the square will help gobies in the sea.

These sculptures continue the series of creative works about relations Sea-Man.

Title of the environmental sculptureAuthorYear of revelation

Gone Forever

Mykola Myronenko



Igor Generozov



Mykola Mironenko



Oleksandr Shaposhnik


Gone Forever

Gone Forever

Gone Forever

Boy - Fisher

Monument Boy-Fisher

Monument Boy-Fisher

Sturgeon at the Azov Sea-Side

Sturgeon, monument

Sturgeon, monument

Monument to sturgeon

Monument to sturgeon

The Father of the Environmental Sculpture

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Who is the father of the environmental art?
    • Andy Golgsworthy, British artist and environmental sculptor
    • Alain Sonfist, American artist
    • Brian Mock, American artist, an upcycle revolutionist

Answer Key

  1. Andy Golgsworthy, British artist and environmental sculptor

Let the Happy End Be!

Playing Goby

Playing Goby


Tanya Sopilko on November 03, 2020:

gorgeous article. I advise everyone to read it

Nikolas Turustus (author) from Ukraine on September 14, 2020:

Thanks. I highly appreciate your comment. Yours

Nika on September 14, 2020:

Good day! I want to say "Thank you" for that article! I live in Berdiansk, so it was interesting - to learn something new about my native town.

Unfotunatly, in last years the population of goby get smaller. I remember that five-ten years ago I was going to fishing with my granfather. We were catchig enough gobys. Now the goby is not a frequent visitor of the fish market.

It's connected with the ecological and enviromental position of the water of the Azov Sea. It became more salty at last times.

I hope, that the goby, breadwinner, will stay with us and will not go down in history anytime soon.

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