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Goby, the First Environmental Sculpture in Ukraine

Updated on April 3, 2018
Mykola profile image

Mykola is fond of extra-curricular works in the secondary school on the basis of environmental science and foreing language.

Contemporary sculptor Beth Galston writes: "An environmental sculptor plans a piece from the very beginning in relationship to its surroundings. The site is a catalyst, becoming part of the creative process."

This article is for foreign students. Their future job is the studying ecodesign, street art, environmental sculptures in English. It considers the history of the Environmental Sculpture with its surroundings as the Monument here.

The description of this Monument to the Goby is to improve student linguistic and environmental competencies.

There is a completed cycle, from the idea to its realization. It means from drawing to scraping, and, of course, its functioning in the environment. Also, managers of urban design can use this information.

Goby, Bread Winner

Has the life of Berdiansk inhabitants ever depended on the small fish, goby? Fish, with its habitat in waters near the coast and which you could catch with hands. There were ruins of the Civil War (1917-1923), the years of Stalin's famine (1932-1933), the terrible years of the Second World War (1939-1945), the Soviet scare goods...

The Sea of Azov:
Азовское море

get directions

The Favourite Habitat of the Goby is waters near the Sea Coast

Goby in Water

Definition of the Goby in English


NOUN plural gobies

  • A small, usually marine fish that typically has a sucker on the underside.

Family Gobiidae: numerous genera and species

Example sentences

  • ‘Marine gobies are typically bottom-dwelling fish that live in shallow water.’
  • ‘The black goby is a coastal fish inhabiting sandy environments and frequently entering brackish lagoons and estuaries.

Mid 18th century: from Latin gobius, from Greek kōbios, denoting some kind of small fish.



The Short Story of the Monument to the Goby

The idea belongs to the famous Berdiansk ichthyologist Vyatcheslav Myroshnikov (1942-2009). City's Mayor Valeriy Baranov and the local painter Mykola Mironenko continue his efforts.

On the first of May in 2001 the cheerful face of the goby as a sculpture appeared out of fish nets. The Berdiansk plant "Yuzhgydromash" created in metal this miraculous fish.

Ichthyologist Vyatcheslav Myroshnikov (1942-2009)

The Playful Goby, Drawing of V.Myroshnikov

Vyatcheslav Stepanоvitch Myroshnikov was a famous Berdiansk ichthyologist. He worked as the 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. Vyatcheslav Stepanovitch took part in many sea expeditions. And he knew about submarine life of deep's inhabitants not by hear-say. As the 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, bread winner, 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.

Elder generation describes people 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 net. A sardelle stuck in it. Miroshnikov was working a long time under that project. The form of sardelle wasn't changed as the goby's lines did.

Ukrainian Artist

Mironenko Mykola Terentiyovitch was born on March,9, 1946, in Berdiansk, Zaporizhia. He graduated from Dnipropetrovske artistic college. Also, it was Leningradske senior artistic and industrial college named after Mukhina, 1972. He is a member of 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.

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 for ever" was decorating the 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 of fresh gobies on the pan of the artist. While frying, fish was twisting in different directions with unusual poses.

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 influence of sun rays gobies were twisting. Thus, after long culinary experiences, he found the posture.

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 them people could climb on the monument. But 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 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 town were being in search of money for metal from which must be cast in mold the Goby. Taking into account those times hard for Independent Ukraine, the task was not easy. But there were 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 parallels to the sea front. 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 front, as a rule.

Sitting on the Goby

Process of Making Goby is Similar to this One in Video

Skilled Craftsman from Yuzhhydromash, Former Superintendent of Instrumental Shop - Leonid Yatsun


At the foundry shop of Yuzhydromash plants workers smelted the parts of Goby-Breeder. Further, head, body, fins, and tail were to weld.

For not seeing weld it was necessary to clean them, every scale, by hand scraper. Work was like jewelry one. There was much sharpness and master-ship demonstrated by workers and their shop superintendent in scraping.

Future of the Monument to the Goby

Decommunization of Ukraine reached Berdiansk in 2017. The Monument to political leader, Vladimir Lenin, vanished. At the same time, the Sculpture to the Goby locates near it. This is 50 meters, approximately, in the central square, named Primorskaya. It is a favourite place of many people.

Environment is the main point of crisscross intentions in the post-industrialized society.

The idea to unite inhabitants in their desire to protect Nature by this Fish appeared in the town. Thus, the Goby may rise on the former pedestal of the communist leader.

Environmental sculpture, 20th-century art form intended to involve or encompass the spectators rather than merely to face them; the form developed as part of a larger artistic current that sought to break down the historical dichotomy between life and art.

British Encyclopedia

Is it Possible to Place the Environmental Sculpture on the Pedestal of the Communist Leader?

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Fish Factory in Berdiansk, Breeds Fries for Putting them into the Sea

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.

This Video May Help Future Designer in Searching New Lines and Forms of the Goby for Sculpture


Another moment in functioning of the Monument is using of it in advertising. As said, Berdiansk is a resort town. After raising the monument a great number of different souvenirs appeared in the town.

There are pictures, drawings, amateur and professional, statuettes, pendants, and so on. Many of cafés and restaurants, hotels use the symbol of the Goby as advertisement.

Using of the Goby in Advertising of Berdiansk Town, Souvenir-Magnet

Greening of the mind

Could you name the monument to the Goby as an environmental one?

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Conclusion: a Modern Totem, Sculpture of the Goby

The Monument to the Goby shows us the following. For successful sculpture, artists are to reflect desires and experience of local inhabitants. It's necessary to remind the role of fish in everyday life and its symbolic meaning.

The sculpture is to unite beliefs, customs, history and climate. They focused on one concrete suitable place where you will raise it.

Let's remember! Greeks and Romans considered the fish as sacred one. In the history of Christian church there was trinity in form of three fishes. The ichthus is also one of eight sacred symbols of the Buddha. Fish can move through water. Water is a constant obstacle.

That's why, the sculpture of fish, as a modern fish totem, is a perfect master of transitions during our life.

Also, the moving energy of fish is like the flows of money. It may inspire us in both financial and spiritual situations. The majority of inhabitants in Berdiansk are fishermen, sailors, employees of banks.

Many of them adore to cook dishes with gobies. No doubt, they have a lot of pleasant associations and impressions thanks to the Goby.

To understand sacrament of Nature is not the privilege of ancient times. Its elements grow in us, such as feelings of gratitude to this small fish. The Monument to the Goby is a bright example of aesthetic and ecological perception of the world.

Really, our life requires totems, doesn't it?

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 months ago from Houston, Texas

      That is a beautiful sculpture and a very meaningful one for the town of Berdiansk. I really enjoyed watching that video about the goby fish and the pistol shrimp and how they help one another survive.

    • profile image

      Victoria Kupchinskaya 

      6 months ago

      Many thanks to the author of the article for the interesting information about one of the symbols of Berdyansk. The monument to the goby is an interesting architectural object of the city which local people are proud of. I hope in the future in Berdyansk there will be many more amazing architectural structures.


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