Vika Shumskaya (1968), Vlad Yurashko (1970), Valeriia Yurashko (1993)
are Ukrainian visual artists and close family relatives living in Banská Bystrica. The joint exhibition of all family members conveys to the viewer the borderline personal and civic experience of migrant artists who became war refugees for a long period of time after the Russian attack on Ukraine.
The title of the exhibition Map from the book of black water and hope connects the titles of the paintings presented by all the members of the family. Metaphorically and “poetically”, it reflects the family’s shared intimate but also artistic experience in an existential sense. The linking of the titles of the works refers to the family cohesion reinforced by external threats, as well as to the exhibited works that fundamentally thematizes the experience of war refugees.
A parallel to the model of family bonding and individual artistic expression to the horrors of war presented in the large-scale paintings of each family member is represented by Vlad Yurashko’s series of intimate watercolours depicting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska as a symbol of political and civic determination and defiance in the face of perpetual threat, which is shared by all Ukrainian families today.
The more abstract artistic form and introspective content statement of the war experience expressed in the paintings of Vika Shumskaya and Valeriia Yurashko is more explicitly articulated in the work of Vlad Yurashko, who works with recognizable iconography directly referencing collective memory, history and current war events in a series of watercolours and comic drawings.
The leitmotif of the exhibition is the exhibited painting Map, which depicts an abstracted map of Ukraine as a way of escape from danger, but at the same time a symbolic journey of inner return back to the homeland. The return is memorialised through the collage reliving of memory and recollection, repainting archival photographs from the family album along the escape routes. The escape from the danger of war thus becomes a permanent inner return to the homeland.
Artwork: Vlad Yurashko, from the series “Support. The first Lady and the President.”
Title of the exhibition: Map from the book of black water and hope
Artists: Vlad Yurashko, Vika Shumskaya, Valeriia Yurashko
Curators: Zuzana L. Majlingová, Zuzana Janečková
Venue: Central Slovak Gallery, Bethlen´s house, Dolná 8, Banská Bystrica
Translation: Zuzana Sloboda Szabóová
opening: October 10, 2023, 5 p.m.
duration: October 11, 2023 – February 25, 2024
The founder of the Central Slovak Gallery is the Banská Bystrica Self-Governing Region.