T h e   U k r a i n i a n    M u s e u m
222 East 6th Street (bet. 2nd and 3rd Aves.) New York, NY 10003 212-228-0110
Wed. thru Sun. 11:30 am - 5:00 pm e-mail: info@UkrainianMuseum.org


Facebook Twitter Yelp Instagram UM Youtube Channel

Media inquiries: it(a)ukrainianmuseum.org

  • Return to News

    Petrykivka: The Soul of Ukraine
    Ukraineĺs UNESCO Treasure

    May 9 – August 9, 2015

    Art works on display for the first time in the U.S.

    New York, NY, May 4, 2015 - Petrykivka: The Soul of Ukraine is an exhibition of unique Ukrainian folk art organized by The Ukrainian Museum and the art collectors Yuri Mischenko and Natalie Pawlenko, whose private collection reflects a variety of Petrykivka styles. The thirty-five works on exhibit are supplemented by paintings from the collections of Anna Hursky de Vassal, and Renata Holod and Oleh Tretiak. The paintings of 17 artists represented span four generations; each of the works is being shown for the first time in the United States. The exhibition opens to the public on May 10 and will remain on display through the end of August 2015.

    Petrykivka art originated from an ancient decorative painting tradition in central Ukraine, where it began as painting on interior and exterior adobe whitewashed walls, ceiling beams, and hearths, as well as decorative painting on furniture, boxes, and wooden kitchenware. Due to the perishability of the medium and the turbulent history of Ukraine, only a few examples of folk decorative painting from central Ukraine predating the 19th century are preserved in Ukrainian museums.

    Petrykivka paintings are characterized by a number of core motifs that reflect the unity between humans and their natural environment and the cyclical re-birth of life, expressed not only through artistic design but also through the annual need to renew, or refresh, the paintings on the homes' whitewashed walls. These motifs find expression through certain key elements, such as the floral bouquet, which represents the "tree of life"; flowers-the beauty of nature; viburnum and hollyhock-feminine beauty; the oak-power and masculinity; birds-harmony; the cuckoo bird-the mystery of eternity; the firebird-happiness; and the rooster-the cyclical rebirth of nature. Petrykivka is also characterized by floral elements reflecting the diverse flora of the surrounding steppes, fields, and forests, such as asters, poppies, tulips, roses, daisies, cornflowers, sunflowers, hops, grapes, apples, strawberries, cherries, viburnum berries, and palmate and feathery leaves, all brilliantly transformed by the fantasy of the individual painter's artistic imagination. Traditionally, Petrykivka art was painted primarily on white backgrounds (echoing the original whitewashed adobe walls), but artists used a variety of colored backgrounds for their art work.

    This style of art remained mostly unknown to art ethnography researchers until the late19th-early 20th century, when it was discovered in the villages along the Dnipro river valley near Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhzhia -Petrykivka, Chaplynka, Shulhivka, Mishuryn Rih, Spaske, Kapulivka, Pokrovske, Romankivka, Chumaky- and brought into prominence by the eminent historian Dmytro Yavornytsky and painter and art researcher Yevhenia Evenbakh.

    Uniquely (and miraculously) preserved in the village of Petrykivka, this art is but a relic of the ethnic art indigenous to the heartland of the Ukrainian Zaporizhzhian Cossack settlements; Petrykivka was the winter settlement of their last leader, Petro Kalnyshevsky. The brutal years of the Soviet regime, with its repressions and persecution of those propagating Ukrainian culture, stifled the practice of this art form, which shrank to a single locale: the village of Petrykivka.

    The ethno-cultural discovery of the Petrykivka art form coincided with a transformative period within Petrykivka art, when local artists began to add paintings on paper-maliovky-to their traditional mediums. The "founding mothers" of this new form-Tetiana Pata, Nadia Bilokin, Paraska Pavlenko, Iryna Pylypenko, and Pelaheia Hlushchenko, as well as their immediate followers, including Yavdokha Klupa, Maria Shyshatska, Hanna Prudnykova, Hanna Isaieva, and Fedir Panko-were encouraged to promote their art far beyond the confines of their villages. Works by Bilokin, Shyshatska, Prudnykova, and Isaieva are included in this exhibition.

    Since Ukraine attained independence in 1991, the popularity of Petrykivka art has experienced something of a renaissance in Ukraine. Painted souvenir items, in particular, have become popular among a broad audience, while the more sophisticated and exclusive maliovky have gained a following among art collectors and researchers. More recently, Petrykivka has found additional expression in exterior and interior design, a notable example being St. George's wooden church in central Kyiv, painted by the artists Halyna Nazarenko and Iryna Kibets.

    Recently, the artistic beauty and uniqueness of the Petrykivka art style received international recognition. In October 2013, a Petrykivka art exhibit comprised of works by renowned Petrykivka masters was held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and in December of that year the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage added the Petrykivka art form to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

    This exhibition at The Ukrainian Museum in New York introduces the works of the Petrykivka artists Nadia Bilokin, Hanna Isaieva, Maria Shyshatska, Vasyl Sokolenko, Anna Sokolenko, Hanna Prudnykova, Tamara Samets, Mykola Deka, Nina Turchyn, Volodymyr Hlushchenko, Valentyna Milenko, Natalia Rybak, Andriy Pikush, Valentyna Karpets, Halyna Nazarenko, Taisa Turchyn, and Viktoria Krasevych.



    About the Museum

    The Ukrainian Museum acquires, preserves, and exhibits articles of artistic or historic significance to the rich cultural heritage of Ukrainian Americans; its collections include thousands of items of folk art, fine art, and archival material. At its founding in 1976 by the Ukrainian National Womenĺs League of America, the Museum was hailed as one of the finest achievements of Americans of Ukrainian descent. Since then, and particularly since its move in 2005 to a new, state-of-the-art building in Manhattanĺs vibrant East Village, it has become known as one of the most interesting and dynamic smaller museums in New York City. Each year, the Museum organizes several exhibitions, publishes bilingual (English/Ukrainian) catalogues, and presents a wide range of public and educational programs, including concerts, films, lectures, courses, workshops, and special events.

    * * *

    The Ukrainian Museum
    222 East 6th Street (between Second and Third Avenues)
    New York, NY 10003
    T: 212.228.0110
    F: 212.228.1947

    Museum hours:
    WednesdayľSunday, 11:30 a.m.ľ5:00 p.m.
    Gift Shop * guided tours * school and family programs * reduced admission for students and seniors



  • Top of page

    Copyright ©1997-2022 The Ukrainian Museum; all rights reserved.
    Images and content on this website may NOT be reproduced in any form
    without the prior written consent of The Ukrainian Museum.

    BRAMA Home -- UkraiNEWStand -- Community Press -- Calendar
    Advertise on BRAMA -- Search BRAMA
    Copyright © 1997-2011 BRAMA, Inc.tm, Inc. All Rights Reserved.