Petrykivka: A Ukrainian Folk Phenomenon and Living Tradition
Saturday, 22 APR • 2017, at 12:00 PM
Ukrainian Institute of America 2 E 79th St, New York, NY
Petrykivka: A Ukrainian Folk Phenomenon and Living Tradition The Natalie Pawlenko and Yuri Mischenko collection April 8 – 30, 2017 Opening Reception: Saturday, April 8, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. In time for spring rejuvenation and celebration, Art at the Institute is pleased to present Petrykivka: A Ukrainian Folk Phenomenon and Living Tradition, an exhibition of 47 spirited paintings from the collection of Natalie Pawlenko and Yuri Mischenko. Shown for the first time at The Ukrainian Institute of America, the exhibition is curated by Walter Hoydysh, PhD, director of Art at the Institute. A unique cultural marvel within the arts and crafts evolution, Petrykivka painting originating from about the 18th century in southeastern Ukraine. The name of the painting style derives from the village of Petrykivka (Dnipropetrovsk region), in which it appeared and continues to be practiced till this day. For over 200 years, the villagers of Petrykivka have decorated their homes, architectural details, personal household belongings and musical instruments with a vibrant method of ornamental painting that is characterized by fantastical florals, vines, fruits, birds, people and farm animals — based on astute observations of the local flora and fauna. This art is rich in symbolism: roosters stands for fire and spiritual awakening, while birds represent light, harmony and happiness. In folk belief, the paintings protect people from hardship and evil. Local people, and, in particular, women of all generations, involve themselves in this folk art custom. Typically, every family has at least one practitioner, making decorative painting an integral part of daily existence in the community. In turn, the community willingly teaches its unique embellishing skills and know-how to anyone showing an interest. The legendary inheritance of this decorative and applied art contributes considerably to the renewal of historical and spiritual consciousness, and defines the identity of the entire community. In 2012, the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine decreed Petrykivka painting an asset of cultural heritage in Ukraine. This classification was subsequently nominated and, in 2013, inscribed to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. During trips to Ukraine, collectors Natalie Pawlenko and Yuri Mischenko enthusiastically acquired works by Petrykivka artists recognized as masters of the art form, constituting a direct link to the style’s historical lineage. The Ukrainian Institute of America is pleased to host selected works for display from this unique collection. Exhibiting Petrykiwka artists include: Nadiya Bilokin, Lidiya Bulavin-Statyva, Mykola Deka, Valentyna Deka, Volodymyr Hlushchenko, Hanna Isayeva, Ala Masyukevich & Hanna Masyukevich, Valentyna Milenko, Halyna Nazarenko, Olena Panko-Yarmolyuk, Andriy Pikush, Maria Pikush, Hanna Prudnykova, Natalya Rybak, Vasyl Sokolenko, and Anna Sokolenko.
Ukrainian Institute of America


Since 1955, the Fletcher-Sinclair mansion at 2 East 79th Street and Fifth Avenue has been home to the Ukrainian Institute of America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the art, music and literature of Ukraine and the Ukrainian diaspora. The Institute serves both a center for the Ukrainian-American community and as America’s “Window on Ukraine” hosting art exhibits, concerts, film screenings, poetry readings, literary evenings, children’s programs, lectures, symposia and full educational programs, all open to the public. In 1897 the banker, broker and railroad investor Isaac D. Fletcher (1844-1917) commissioned the architect Charles P.H. Gilbert to design a new house. Gilbert designed over 100 large houses in New York City during a career that spanned from the 1880s to the 1920s. As a C.P.H. Gilbert house, the mansion was given a second life as home to the Ukrainian Institute of America. The Fletcher-Sinclair mansion is protected as a contributing element of the Metropolitan Museum Historic District and in 1977 was designated as a National Historic Landmark.


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