Mykola Zhuravel, a well-known Ukrainian artist, and his partner, Daria Tishchenko, witnessed firsthand the turmoil and uprising that led to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s ouster during the 2014 Revolution, as well as the ongoing political tensions that have reached a boiling point with Russia’s hostile attack on Ukraine. Together with Ms. Tishchenko, Zhuravel, a modern painter and sculptor who has represented Ukraine in the Viennese Biennale, devised the exhibition Invasion Redux, which first debuted in North America in New York in 2016. Their recollections of the revolt and its aftermath are poignantly transformed into vivid abstract renderings – artworks, sculpture, photography, and cinema – that convey what it’s like to live in the shadow of a hostile behemoth.
In August 2021 and January 2022, Darrell Brown, Executive Director of the Canadian National Exhibition Association (CNEA), visited with Mr. Zhuravel in Kyiv. Ironically, their first encounter took place on the same day when Ukrainian soldiers were training for their Independence Day march on Khreschatyk. Brown argued that it was time to re-open Invasion Redux in January, with Russian munitions stockpiled and troops on the border, and offered to host the show at the CNEA’s Withrow Common Gallery.
“The world has responded with shock, sorrow, and anger at the unwarranted attack Russia has launched on its Ukrainian neighbors. But for some like Zhuravel and Tishchenko, the current turmoil is a mere extension of the hostilities initiated in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and, through its conduits, occupied the Donbas and Luhansk,” said Brown.
“Toronto is home to 65,000 Ukrainians, and we stand strong with the Ukrainian community. We are now in the process of assisting Mr. Zhuravel and his family to obtain travel visas to Canada to present this timely and transformative exhibition.”
Zhuravel was allowed to leave Ukraine with his family at the age of 61, despite the journey being difficult, unpleasant, and long. Zhuravel’s grandparents immigrated from Canada to Ukraine in 1916, thus this journey will bring him full circle.
The Invasion Redux exhibition’s contents are now on their way. The CNEA is renting the space in Withrow Gallery, and the show will be ready to open in April 2022, after the family comes and the display is curated. All proceeds from ticket sales will be contributed to benefit humanitarian aid operations in Ukraine, which is currently through tremendous unrest.
Mykola Zhuravel is a well-known Ukrainian painter and sculptor whose work has been shown in Canada, the United States, Ukraine, Italy, Germany, and Japan. He makes works that look for compatibility between humans and the planet by combining historic creative traditions, a Ukrainian worldview, and a very personal sense of life and tranquility.
Zhuravel’s pieces are vivid, multi-faceted, and imaginative, as he attempts to blur the lines between painting and sculpture. In 1989, Zhuravel received his diploma from the Kyiv State Arts Academy. In Ukraine, Western Europe, Canada, and the United States, his works are held in individual and institutional collections. Ukraine was represented by Zhuravel in the 54th Venice Biennale. He lives and works in Kyiv, Ukraine, alongside his wife and collaborator Daria Tishchenko-Zhuravel, a photographer and filmmaker.
SOURCE Canadian National Exhibition
Featured image: Bathing in toys No.3 (CNW Group/Canadian National Exhibition)
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