Kyiv. Ya Gallery
15.09.2021 – 16.10.2021
In the world of omnipresent restrictions, art seems to be almost the only space of freedom. However, it does have its own rules and conventionalities: academic, genre, and stylistic. And since art is only one part of life, its inner laws are complemented with the general mankind challenges the whole world community is facing today. One of the meaningful discussions that such challenges have given rise to concerns the topic of men and women. Social roles, civil rights, freedom of choice and consequences of this freedom — all these questions, despite any laws or regulations, are still causing ethnic conflicts even in democratic countries.
Marginalization of women in art is an issue that the western world has been focusing on for over half a century. It has also been frequently discussed in Ukraine for the last decades. A Ukrainian woman could rarely pursue art as her life's work for a number of reasons. Even though embroidery and house painting and decoration were purely female occupations, women could get around to them only after the “main duties" like raising children, cooking and doing other household chores. Being a female artist in Ukraine in the 21st century doesn't mean challenging the society yet it is an undeniable fact that the history of Ukrainian art, just like its modern space, knows far less women than men.
Is it possible to make it into the history of art and ignore all rules and limits at the same time? In 2020, the Naïve Art Festival project team studied the tradition and modernity of Ukrainian amateur art, bringing an underexplored cultural phenomenon on the radar. Naïve artists are those who have consciously chosen to be completely free from knowledge of academic conventionalities in their work. The last year's project worked with the artistic hierarchy, placing the Ukrainian significant naïve artists alongside professionals. This year's goal is to unveil the inner conflicts of naïve art.
She Is an Artist: Significant Naïve Art in the UK and Ukraine project is a research platform that discovers women's names in naïve art. Together with the British Ukrainian Society, the project team has found twelve Ukrainian and three British amateur artists whose works challenge academic and social stereotypes in their own way. Naïve art of both countries has a different history, tradition and contemporaneity. The only thing that all 15 participants have in common is their desire to be free in their work, and each of them finds her own unique path to this goal.
The NAÏVE exhibition is held as part of the project in Ya Gallery Art Center from 15September to 15 October. It presents the works of the project participants: Katia Lapochkina, Oleksandra Tertyshna, Anastasiia Yerofieieva, Iryna Vyshnevska, ZO, Rita Rudun, Olena Nebesna, Marharyta Bolhar, Anastasiia Usatiuk, Iryna Rylach, Mariia Charuta, Nataliia Fedoryshyn, Antoinette Kelly, Hannah Dosanjh, Sandy Wager. What modern female naïve art is, what the works of amateurs from different ends of Europe have in common — each visitor may find out on their own at the exhibition as well as contemplate the topics, images and forms of naïve art.
During the exposition, the art centre will host lectures, discussions, workshops and other events devoted to women in naïve art. In addition, the project team presents the NAÏVE edition containing the artists' stories and works, research of the past and the present of women in the Ukrainian and world art, and addressing the main historical, social and cultural factors influencing the formation of the modern female naïve art in the UK and Ukraine, as well as interesting details on how the project was prepared.
Curator – Pavlo Gudimov
Coordinators – Anna Gudimova, Artem Braichenko
Technical Director – Yurii Horpynych
Research – Marina Bogush
Editor – Nataliia Yakubchak
Design – Kateryna Bolshakova
Photography – Maksym Bilousov
Translation – Dmytro Yankovyi
PR and Communication – Anna Burdina, Svitlana Velegan
Entrance is free
The project is implemented as part of the Culture for Changes Program with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation and the British Council. The organizers are responsible for the content which is not an official position of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation (Ukraine) and the British Council (UK).
Ukrainian Cultural Foundation — a state-owned institution established in 2017 as a new model for providing competition-based state funding and promoting initiatives in the field of culture and creative industries. The Foundation's activity under current law is an integral part of the policy and priorities of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine.
The British Council is an international organization of the United Kingdom whose goal is to deepen cultural ties and educational opportunities. We promote friendly dialogue and better understanding between people in the UK and other countries.