Category: Art

Have you ever heard of Petrykivka?

Have you ever heard of Petrykivka?

Petrykivka is a town in the east of Ukraine, and decorative painting art included into the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage. Take a look at it, and you’ll understand why.

The urban-type settlement Petrykivka is situated in Dnipro (Dnipropetrovsk) province in east-central Ukraine. According to a legend, it was founded by the Cossack Petryk, who gathered the serfs from the local villages under his protection. Petrykivka was first mentioned in historical documents in 1772. Today it has about five thousand inhabitants, and is famous as a folk art center and for its unique style of decorative painting.

The people of Petrykivka decorate their living quarters, household belongings and musical instruments with a richly symbolic style of ornamental painting, characterized by fantastic flowers and other natural elements. In folk belief, the paintings protect people from sorrow and evil. Every family has at least one practitioner and the tradition is taught at all levels in the local schools, making Petrykivka painting an integral part of daily existence in the community.

Early decorative paintings in Petrykivka were mostly murals on the walls of the peasants’ houses rather than easel paintings. The folk poetic interpretation of the surrounding world was and is at the basis of the Petrykivka paintings. Stylized flowers and guilder-rose are among the most popular motifs of the murals with even regular thistles and other weeds featuring rather prominently in the paintings. Murals decorated not only the walls of the houses, both inside and outside, but also the walls of barns and sheds, thus creating a decorative ensemble within individual households.

Later on the paintings started to appear on other materials — paper, wood panels or canvas. Mineral pigments were used for making paints, and instead of brushes short lengths of reed stocks, twigs or even fingers were used to apply the paint onto the primed walls, the primer mostly being a thin layer of clay. Egg-based paints were used in later times to do paintings on paper. Three colors were predominant — red, yellow (or yellow-green), and dark blue.

Today’s Petrykivka painting is also a modern art that is in process of developing and reforming. While traditionally it was done on white background, contemporary painters often work on black, green, red or blue ones. Petrykivka has often been a family craft, and many well-known artists (both historical and contemporary) often have well-known artists in their immediate family.

Do you like the vivacious art?

Sea & the City: Kyiv’s Mural of the Season

Sea & the City: Kyiv’s Mural of the Season

Kyiv has already become the capital of murals, at least in this part of the world. Artists from around the world are welcomed here to paint the city’s old walls. Some of their works are real pieces of arts. But one of the latest local murals created by Jake Aikman of Cape Town, South Africa stands out among the others.

It took the artist a few weeks to complete the 9-meters high and 13-meters wide painting depicting deep blue sea or ocean in details.

For Jake Aikman it was his first experience in creating something outside of his usual studio. ‘It was very strange working outside, says the artist. I work very privately, I don’t share my studio with anyone, so no one gets to see my developmental stages. Being watched was very peculiar, but I really just put my head down because I had a lot to do.’

They say that first the residents of the building hosting the artwork weren’t very happy with the work. ‘People initially started shouting at me when they saw the first high-contrast sketch I did on the wall, remembers Aikman. Someone translated for me and I found out that they were saying it was too dark, one woman even brought me a rose because she wanted something more pretty.’

But now his creative turned out to be one of Kyiv’s new attractions. And that’s how the creator himself sees the meaning of his work: ‘Bringing the sea to the city is the most important part of the project for me. The human vulnerability in the enormity of the ocean is important for our understanding of our own humanity.’

Aikman arrived to Ukraine by invitation of the international public art organization Art United Us aiming to ‘make 200 walls in the city of Kyiv’. Before this experience the 40 year old Jake Aikman was known in South Africa for his canvasses depicting seascapes, remote coastlines, and dense forests. His works were presented in exhibitions in his home country, as well as Italy and Great Britain.

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