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Spotlight on Culture

People that call this area Home

Other Ethnic Groups

Immigrants from other areas of the world

The Ukrainian people

Cultural Profile of their country of origin- Ukraine

Artistic Expressions

Visual arts

Art in Ukraine was influenced by different internal and external factors in different periods. As a result of historical circumstances and its geographic location, they came into contact with many foreign influences, which were either absorbed into its culture or rejected. For this reason, there is a distinct difference between Ukrainian art, the art that is linked to the Ukrainian people in spirit and style, and art in the country of Ukraine, that encompasses all the artistic expressions on Ukrainian territory.

Over time, the Ukrainian people have developed a variety of folk art expressions. Their embroidery arts, wood carvings, ceramics, and weaving techniques utilize stylized ornamentations, that are represented in many regional styles. Intricately patterned Easter eggs (called pysanky) are also popular, and practiced also in many countries that have Ukrainian immigrant populations, including the US. Locally, artist MaryJo Cayley has been practicing this egg-decorating art for over 30 years.

With the introduction of Christianity in the 10th century, various forms of Byzantine art (in the form of architecture, mosaics, frescoes, manuscript illumination, and iconographic painting) spread rapidly. They remained the dominant art forms through the 16th century. The mosaics and frescoes of the churches of Kyiv, notably the cathedral of St. Sophia (11th–12th century), and the icons of the more distinctively Ukrainian school in Galicia (15th–16th century) are examples of this. A number of churches of this period, notably the cathedral of St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery (built in early 12th century), were demolished by the Soviet authorities in the 1930s and only international protests saved the cathedral of St. Sophia from the same fate. Baroque architecture also had a strong impact in the country's style, with a distinctive “Cossack Baroque” developed there. Western European influences in the 17th and 18th centuries also affected iconography and stimulated portrait painting, engraving, and sculpture. Right now, with war raging, the Ukrainians have been forced to take measures to try and protect this patrimony the best they can.

For more information on the history of art in Ukraine, visit this page. For books to read with examples of each period, see this reading list here. For examples of artists and their work, visit this page and this page. To help artists currently in Ukraine, visit this page here.

Embroidery arts

For more information on protective Ukrainian embroidery, visit this page here. For more information on the meaning of traditional patterns visit this page. To learn how to make encrypted embroidery, see this page- it includes a guide that pairs letters, numbers, and other words such as seasons and days of the week, and their corresponding pattern. For more complete information on the country's embroidery traditions and styles, visit this page.

The following video is a complete lecture on Ukrainian Embroidery, made by the Barron Arts Center in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

NOTE- With this installment of our culture series, we talk about the culture of the country of Ukraine- a place that right now is fighting for their right to freedom and independence. Since that part is being covered by regular media, we will focus on portraying their culture, their people, and other notable details- and not delve into the tragedy they are currently living.

Stay tuned for more information on Ukraine and its culture, and more places and their people in future posts. Our area is blessed to be called home by many people of many cultures, and they deserve to be acknowledged.


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