Between July 7 and August 27, the Ukrainian House in Kyiv is holding a unique art exhibition called “Maria Paints.” It consists of 100 unknown works by the legendary Ukrainian folk-art painter, who worked in the naïve art style, Maria Prymachenko. These paintings are being presented to the public for the first time. The works are from the private collection of the well-known Kyiv art critic, Eduard Dymshyts. 

“Most of the exhibition is made up of works that were the artist's reaction to her experiences: the war, the death of her beloved at the front, the occupation, the battles for Kyiv region and post-war poverty, the Chornobyl tragedy,” the Ukrainian House website says.

“Maria Prymachenko's works are topical today because the inclusion of the theme of Chornobyl in her works resonates with the situation at the Zaporizhzhia and Rivne nuclear power plants. People rescued her works from the museum in the town of Ivankiv, within the Kyiv region, which was destroyed by the Russian military in 2022. The Ukrainian army also raised a lot of money from selling her works,” explained Dymshyts.

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Ukrainian Art critic, Eduard Dymshyts opens the exhibition “Maria paints”.

Photo by Aleksandra Klitina.

The project's title, “Maria Paints,” refers to the artist's altruistic outlook, resilience, and devotion to her universe. That is why the exhibition's slogan is based on the artist's statement: “For people to live as flowers bloom.”

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“The exhibition features two main themes in Prymachenko's work, which had not previously been represented, the anti-war theme; the works feature the graves of soldiers and their visitors with people, animals, and the theme of the Chornobyl disaster, which is very close to the Kyiv residents.”  Dymshyts says.

Artwork by Maria Prymachenko

“Extinguishing the 4th power unit” Exhibition "Maria paints". Photo by Aleksandra Klitina

“The fourth block

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The memory of the people forever

To our dear mothers, great sadness

Let us all pray

For the rest of your souls in heaven

Who come as sparrows to the fourth block” Maria Prymachenko.

Artwork by Maria Prymachenko Exhibition “Maria paints”

 

Photo by Aleksandra Klitina.

Along with more familiar images of fantastic creatures and floral decorative panels, the paintings emphasize the theme of the struggle between good and evil, in which good always wins. After the tragedies of the war, Maria gave up painting for almost ten years, but she returned because creativity was her way of life. 

In February 2022, in the village of Ivankiv, Russians destroyed the local museum, which housed about 14 of her works. Part of the collection was saved.

One of Prymachenko's paintings, Flowers Grew Near the Fourth Power Unit, which , was sold at a charity auction for $500,000.

 

 

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