Sleeping Beauty recreated in Kiev museum

Associated Press Modified: September 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm •  Published: September 7, 2012
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KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Looking for true love? Fall asleep in Ukraine's top museum and wait for a kiss.

A Ukrainian-Canadian artist is presenting an interactive art project called "Sleeping Beauty," in which five attractive young women take turns sleeping under dim lights in Kiev's top gallery, each under a pledge to marry the visitor who wakes her with a kiss.

Any unmarried museum-goer can kiss the woman in the hope of making Beauty fall in love and awaken.

Taras Polataiko, a Ukrainian-born artist now based in Canada, says the goal of his exhibit is to recreate the famous fairy tale and witness the birth of love.

But it also has political undertones, symbolizing the patience of the Ukrainian people trapped by what he calls the oppressive government of President Viktor Yanukovych, and hopes that the nation will one day awaken to true freedom.

"I am turning the fairy tale into reality, the Prince fell in love with her deeply, strongly and this love woke her up," Polataiko told The Associated Press. "Strong love happens by chance."

The nearly three-week exhibit ends Sunday, and so far only one Sleeping Beauty has woken up to a kiss — only to discover that her Prince Charming was actually a princess. It is unclear what the two women will do now, given that Ukraine forbids same-sex marriage and that Princess Charming has a boyfriend of her own.

Romantic tension and anticipation are palpable in the ground floor room at the National Art Museum of Ukraine, where each Sleeping Beauty lies on a high white bed two hours a day. But the project is more of an artistic experiment than an act of match-making. The marriage pledges that the visitors sign are not legally binding and some of the Sleeping Beauties admitted they would not get married to someone they disliked.

While the young women said they were looking for love, many admitted they were also just curious to experience the public attention and the thrill of the artistic experiment.

Liza, a 23-year-old public relations manager, didn't dare open her eyes to any kisses, but later regretted it — discovering that one of the men was very attractive.

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