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In Shevchenko's Land
March 29 October 26, 2014
New York City, March 28, 2014 The exhibition In Shevchenko's Land was inspired by a series of etchings planned by artist Taras Shevchenko as a means to document the most important events in Ukrainian history, Ukrainian traditions and culture, and the beauty of Ukraine's natural landscapes. Traditional Ukrainian costumes and ritual cloths from the Museum's permanent collection of folk art, along with folk icons from a private collection, are presented against a backdrop of several enlarged prints of Shevchenko's works. The exhibition will be on display through the end of October, 2014.
Late 19th century costumes exquisitely embroidered shirts, masterfully woven skirts, and accessories all hand-made by women, icons painted by folk artisans known locally as "God painters," and rushnyky, antique woven and embroidered ritual cloths (essential for every important life event), illustrate the folk traditions that were familiar to Shevchenko in his time. Enlarged prints of a few of the artist's works serve as the inspiration and insight into the lifestyle of a typical Ukrainian serf Taras Shevchenko's status from birth until his freedom was purchased at the age of twenty-four.
Freed from the shackles of serfdom, Shevchenko's short-lived liberty soon led to arrests, exile, and unfulfilled dreams, having vexed the implacable leaders of Tsarist Russia, who held a deep distrust of any expressions of appreciation for Ukrainian culture. Despite the obstacles, Shevchenko's artistic drive, which branched into poetry and prose, flourished over time. He became known best for the beauty and resonance of his poetry, which, after his untimely death at age forty-seven, played a major role in forming a Ukrainian national identity.
Curated by Lubow Wolynetz, the curator of the Museum's folk art collection, In Shevchenko's Land is the first of two exhibitions organized in commemoration of the bicentennial of the birth of Taras Shevchenko. The second, Taras Shevchenko: Post, Artist, Icon scheduled to open to the public on May 11, 2014 will include original watercolors and lithographs by Taras Shevchenko, as well as publications, historical artifacts, and a number of exact replicas of a selection of literary and art works.
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