Artists in Muzychi, Ukraine

Back in September I spent one month in the village of Muzychi, Ukraine on an artist residency funded by the British Council. I will be going back in March to install an exhibition piece in Kiev, it will be a group show with other artists who took part in the programme. I’ve been looking through the writings from my sketchbook from my time there, and thought I would share some on my blog…

This one is about how my host Alevtina(also an incredible artist) visited some residents in the village on the second evening of my stay:

September 2nd 2016

There are two other artists in the village aside from Alevtina; Vasyl, and Vasyl’s neighbour. THe artist next door to Vasyl paints countryside scenes of lakes and swans, hills, forests, and flowers.

“They are all copies” says Alevtina.

The walls are covered floor to ceiling with her work, whether hung up in wooden frames, or painted directly on to the walls. Her modest house is swallowed up by stunning scenery, sunsets, picturesque houses, Christian figures and sun flowers. She tells Alevtina to tell me that she never went to art school, and that she is self taught. 

She argues with Vasyl. He has not brought her any paint. 

“Paint is very expensive in Ukraine” says Alevtina. 

Later we visit Vasyl’s home and studio. I discover he is not only a talented sculptor but he is also a great painter. Alevtina tells me that Vasyl’s artist neighbour does not know that he is a painter. She will want his paint for herself if she found out! 

Vasyl’s work is stunning. His sculptures tower above me in his garden. A red circular shape stands prominent in his work space, as do metal shapes that have been strategically placed on the ground, ready to be pieced together. Vasyl walks us over to his studio. The shelves are filled with mini nudes, busts and characters. They look out at you and hold your gaze, and others are hung as of they are climbing the walls that are lined with equipment, it seems as if they are trying to escape their creators enclosure. 

Sat on a small handmade wooden bench, we drink tea out in the garden. Vasyl shows me the brown sugar proudly as the sun sets into the forest. 

“Brown sugar is a rarity in Ukraine” says Alevtina. 

 

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