SOUTH BOUND BROOK, N.J. – Children from the Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization’s Newark branch, which is based in Whippany, N.J., visited the Ukrainian History and Education Center in South Bound Brook, N.J., for a Petrykivka workshop and demonstration by Sophia Shyprykevych.
“We are delighted that children in the U.S. are being given a chance to experience Petrykivka painting first hand,” said art collectors Yuri Mishchenko and Natalia Pawlenko, whose collection of Petrykivka artwork was exhibited until the end of June.
Petrykivka painting may have begun when women painted the interior and exterior of the whitewashed walls, ceiling beams and hearths of their homes, as well as dowry chests, with fanciful flowers, birds and other images from nature. In Ukraine, one can also see examples of this decorative painting on furniture, boxes and wooden kitchenware.
After Ukraine regained independence, the popularity of Petrykivka art experienced something of a renaissance. Petrykivka, especially painted objects such as plates, bowls and serving utensils, have become popular, while “malyovky” (Petrykivka on paper or canvas) 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 the wooden St. George Church in central Kyiv, painted by the artists Halyna Nazarenko and Iryna Kibets.
Petrykivka paintings are characterized by a number of core motifs, reflecting the unity between humans and their natural environment, and the cyclical rebirth of life. These motifs find expression through key elements such as the floral bouquet, which represents the tree of life; viburnum and hollyhock – feminine beauty; the oak – power and masculinity; birds – harmony, mystery of eternity, happiness; and the rooster – the cyclical rebirth of nature.
Recently, the beauty and uniqueness of the Petrykivka art style received international recognition. In October 2013, a Petrykivka art exhibit comprising the works of renowned masters of Petrykivka was held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris; in December of that year, the Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage added the Petrykivka art form to its “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”
The show was organized by Natalia Honcharenko, Michael Andrec, Oksana Pasakas (staff and volunteers of the Ukrainian History and Education Center) and art collectors Mr. Mischenko and Ms. Pawlenko, whose private collection reflects a variety of Petrykivka styles and features the works of four generations of Petrykivka artists.
The Petrykivka exhibit at the center’s Library Gallery, located at 135 Davidson Ave., Somerset, N.J., ran until July 1. Selected works were available for purchase. For more information, readers may visit www.UkrHEC.org or www.facebook.com/ukrhec, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 732-356-0132.