Taras Shevchenko Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Sculpted by Leo Mol and dedicated in 1964 by then-President Dwight Eisenhower, this statue is one location honoring Ukrainian culture and history in Washington D.C., in addition to the Holodomor Memorial.

Taras Shevchenko remains one the most preeminent poets and national heroes of Ukraine. Shevchenko wrote poems about peasant life, social equity, progress, and the very spirit of the Ukrainian countryside. His work consists of over 200 poems, 10 books, and over 1000 etchings and paintings. The majority of these works were written in his native Ukrainian, a controversial and politically risky act in the lands freshly annexed by the Russian Empire in the 3rd partition of Poland. Many of his works were banned from publication in Russia and were instead published in the neighboring Austro-Hungarian Empire. Though he would pass away a day after his 47th birthday, his legacy and works codified the Ukrainian language and were symbols of independence. 

The statue is 14 feet tall and is joined by a stone relief of Prometheus, symbolizing martyrdom. The inscription on the statue’s base expresses hope for the day when all of Ukraine is ruled under “fair and just laws.” In December of 2022, the area containing the statue was renamed Ukrainian Independence Park.

This is one of many memorials intended to honor and highlight foreign heroes in Washington D.C. with other notable examples including Simon Bolivar, Nelson Mandela, and Gandhi.

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