OLD LYME – “Art Under Siege,” a Ukrainian art exhibition and fundraiser, will hold its opening at the Sill House Gallery at the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts on June 5 from 2-4 p.m.
The show is hosted by resident Barbara Shriver, who has collected over fifty works of art, created from 1945 to 2001, when she and her husband, Dick, lived in Ukraine. Between 1990 and 2001, the Shrivers lived and worked in Ukraine – during the final days of Soviet Union rule and the 10 years following Ukraine’s independence.
“Unless they adopted the rules prescribed for official Soviet art, dissident artists were persecuted and harassed in various ways, including being barred from purchasing essential materials such as paints and canvases,” Barbara Shriver said in a statement.
She said many artists – most of whom trained at the Kyiv Institute of Art – were not allowed to travel outside of Ukraine, but were very aware of the world of art. art outside Ukraine.
“To me, a lot of this art reflects the impact of the form of government on the way artists paint. These paintings made under Soviet tyranny are quite different from paintings produced in an independent Ukraine,” Shriver said.
Among the artists highlighted in the exhibition are Victor Zaretsky, a figure in Ukrainian socialist realism and Soviet nonconformist art who was influenced by Gustav Klimt. He and his wife, Alla Horska, were part of the “Sixtiers”, a group of dissident painters, poets and writers of the 1960s who defended Ukrainian culture and refused to let their works serve the Soviet Union.
Also included are works by Mishnovskiy, from L’viv in western Ukraine, known as “Andy Warhol of Ukraine”.
The exhibition includes a number of portraits and landscapes from Crimea to Kyiv, created from 1945 to 1990. The exhibition also includes pieces of carpentry, painted eggs, fabrics and handmade jewelry.
Shriver said an important part of the show’s purpose is to convey how Russians are viewed by Ukrainians.
“People always say that the Russians say [Ukrainians are] their little brothers. But Ukrainians say 300 years of oppression is enough – and these are quotes straight from Ukrainians,” Shriver told CT Examiner.
Paintings range from $300 to $5,000 and souvenirs range from $5.00 to $100.00. Two-thirds of the proceeds from the sale of artwork will be donated to Ukrainian charities, including the Ukrainian Catholic University (based in L’viv, Ukraine) and its program for war refugees, and the Boyarsky orphanage of 88 small children who was forced to flee the Kyiv region earlier this year, and settle in Utsk, Poland, according to a statement.
The Lyme Academy of Fine Arts donated the gallery space and its share of the proceeds from the artworks sold.
“Art Under Siege”
Opening: June 5, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Exhibition: June 8 – 19, Wed – Sun, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Sill House Gallery of the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts
84 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut