RU  UK  EN
Articles  >  Enjoy  >  Flowers in Ukrainian Style. Kateryna Bilokur

Flowers in Ukrainian Style. Kateryna Bilokur

07.04.2018 | art, Ukraine, personalities
In every art there are formats and rules – once in “mainstream” an Artist won’t have to starve. Even more so in totalitarian times when every sphere of people’s life is controlled and affected and selfhood has to be forgotten as such. It is probably in the face of a system natural talents emerge for their work to become immortal. Today Outlook recalls one of them, artist Kateryna Bilokur.

A woman born in province of Ukraine who didn’t even graduated from a seven-year school – her parents thought that school was too high-maintenance – could hardly dream of an artist of Picasso’s league calling her a genius. It will happen when she is be over 50. But before that “obsessed” Kateryna from Bogdanivka (a village in Kyiv region) will have to go through a lot.

Her life can probably make for a great script of a hit Hollywood biopic. Sneers of people around since very childhood because of useless “inartistic daubery”, hard work of a countrywoman, no chance to try and study somewhere because without school graduation certificate further education was unassailable, unsuccessful suicide attempt that would resound till the rest of her life in aching legs, despotic parents… Kind and forgiving Bilokur was going through difficulties with dignity her whole life.

And not just going – she was creating! She would sit in fields for hours, painting details of flowers and grass from life like a maniac. It resulted in famous “Decorative flowers”, “Hello Harvest”, “Birch” and other masterpieces. Her strive for education was so strong that after hard farming work she was spending nights studying engineering, creating brushes for herself and perfecting various pictorial art styles to become a hardworking rural woman early in the morning.

It all turned out fruitful – destiny thanked her by granting one chance out of a million. In 1939, when nameless Bilokur was already 39, she heard a song of Oksana Petrusenko on the radio. The voice of the singer sank so deeply into the heart of a “weirdo” from a village that Kateryna wrote her a letter, put a small picture of viburnum to the envelope and sent it to a strange address: Kyiv, Academic Theatre, to Oksana Petrusenko.

Miracle or not, but the letter ended up in right hands. Petrusenko was getting lots of grateful responses but it was the first time she saw a picture so beautiful and vivid… And then Act 3 of a Hollywood biopic began: intellectual in Kyiv found out about an amazing woman and helped her arrange for several exhibitions that blew out of the water both critics and ordinary picture art lovers…

After the war Kateryna Vasylivna joined the Union of Artists, was awarded several prizes, her works set on a tour to European countries: Spain, France and Italy where they were ranked together with best masters of those times. Nevertheless, she never abandoned native village. Sick relatives, family house and, sure enough, fields of flowers didn’t let her go. And although Kyiv and Moscow were luring not a “weirdo” by then but a People’s Artist of Ukraine with her pictures studied at universities and academies, she stayed anyway. She only absented herself several times to have rest at Guest House for Artists. Bilokur died in 1961 at the age of 60…

There are always creators, who made it into textbooks for their accomplishments yet young people don’t study them much, sometimes they don’t know them at all. But acknowledgement of future generations is a significant point. Here is what modern masters of brush from Kyiv studio “Maya’s Workshop” say about Bilokur and her influence on Ukrainian picture art:

Maya Proskurnya: It is her in her every work. In her authentic and bold way Kateryna Bilokur was painting what was inspiring her, making her happy, winning her heart, touching and exciting her. World around the artist is presented “in her own style” that cannot but be distinguished. I’d call it the symbol of decorative picture art in Ukraine. And it doesn’t matter whether one had been taking academic painting classes for 15 years or not. I know many great guys with perfect professional education but they feel sick at a sight of a canvas – over the years of education they fell out of love with both art and their talent.

One has to put soul into own work, elaborate every detail with love. That’s what Kateryna Bilokur used to do. Why so many flowers? Because she was fascinated with them and she preserved life of every petal in her works. No wonder she was noticed and recognized – so “non-realistic” yet at the same time “vivid” canvases paved the way for a self-taught artist to big-time art.

Nina Murashkina: It seems to me that Kateryna Vasylivna still influences artists with her honesty in approach to a canvas: she only painted what she loved. Not Stalin, not self-sacrificing collective farmers but flowers. She was creating her every work over a long time and with immense quality. Both now and in her times it is hard to come across an artist who would dig into every finger-sized flower with both eyes and brush! Even more so today with universal use of photos and printing. For every person who begins painting, Bilokur is a powerful stimulus not to stop!

The word is that when Picasso saw works of “a citizen of Bohdanivka village” he said: “If we had an artist with such level of skills, we would have made the whole world talk about her!” Unfortunately, USSR was no Spain. When Bilkur wqas creating, no one thought about technologies to preserve her painting and she herself simply didn’t know any of them. In merely 50 years her masterpieces are no longer subject to transportation so they don’t leave Ukraine anymore.

It will be interesting:
Kintsugi. Japanese art of restoration
The Japanese are one of those peoples who zealously respect the ancient traditions. They respect old age, being interested in ancestors and often know the family ancestry by heart. With such a worldview, it is not surprising that a unique technique for the restoration of kintsugi appeared exactly there. Read about it in Outlook.
THE GHOST BRUSH OF MISS HOKUSAI
The eccentric elder Katsushika Hokusai was the real star of the Edo period, the creative genius and the brutal debtor of the half of his city. He used at least 30 names, changed 93 houses and created a lot of prints, drawings and paintings. His internationally recognized print The Great Wave off Kanagawa is mesmerizing. But only a few people know that this block printing, as well as many other works, was created by Hokusai with assistance of his daughter - artist Katsushika Ōi, lost in time and overshadowed by her genius father crazy about art.
Eastern music of Sufi: Qawali
‘Love evolves when one looks in the eyes of the person beloved seeing there God’, in such a way the lines of some Arabian song called Qawali is translated. The authorship of this chant is ascribed to Eastern strangers Sufi who tending to find the sense of existence strolled around the half an Earth bare-footed. In the travels they composed songs where they told narration describing what they had to endure.
THORNY PATH OF FLOWER
Traditional Japanese kabuki theatre has always been a mystery to the European mentality: only an expert on the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun can understand a play without guide’s tips.
The magnificent world of land-art: Patrick Dougherti
Land-art is not simply the landscape design but also the whole direction in art which in thee 21-st century considered one of the most important when only lazy people do not speak about the ‘green technologies’ and environment. The names of stars of such an activity have sturdily come into the speech of the tutors, critics, and connoisseurs, especially they outline Patrick Dougherti with his unbelievable works.
«Frida and Diego». Photo exhibition in Kyiv is dedicated to Frida Kahlo and her spouse
"Dali in a skirt", "The greatest provoker of the last century", shocking and inspiring confidence in the almost limitless potential of man, Frida Kahlo surprised contemporaries and continues to admire the admirers of her work today. The people of Kiev can now look behind the scenes of the life of the Mexican genius. With the support of the Embassy of Mexico in Ukraine in the National Museum named after Taras Shevchenko an exhibition of photographs devoted to the relations between Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera was opened.
Mandala Therapy
Yesterday I created a Universe. I took some peas, rice, buckwheat, millet, black and white pepper seeds and cardamom. Grabbed a handful of coffee and aniseeds. Then it all acquired a centre. It kept growing and calming my thoughts. When the last seed landed in the circle, I felt forgotten harmony again, heard birds singing through the noise of cars on the avenue, sensed fragrance of violets that a neighbor of mine was growing on her balcony and a recollection of Funtik from floor 5 and his tail evoked a flush of tenderness towards the shaggy monster.
STEP OVER THRESHOLD: THE MAGICAL ART OF THE HUICHOL PEOPLE
Dazzling flashes of ancient knowledge manifested in colourful shimmering beads and in elaborated yarn mosaics by Huichol Indians, captivate the imagination calling for an endless journey through branches of the world tree. Spiritual images take on flesh in intricate ornaments that accompany a Mexican peasant throughout his life. Twilight land of legends always have a shelter for a weary traveller: no one is alone on the paths of spirits.
The Sistine Chapel Illusions
More than fifteen hundred years ago Romans were awe struck when they caught the very first sight of the Sistine Chapel. After that masters of painting were born and dead as well as whole pictural art styles. And contemporaries of you and me gape on the distinguished temple. However, while admiring another line intricacy and allusive painting theme, bear in mind that beneath the plot of glossy surface, as per usual, stand painfully familiar disputes with an impatient client, unpleasant surprises from nature and damaged health of painters-executants.
Filthy creativity
Dirty cars are like a host for an artist. One may treat such art differently. Someone will wrinkle his nose and disdainfully wrestle his clothes. Others necessarily want to put a finger in such a picture in order to check the fragility of the "canvas" and smear its outlines. However, others will definitely make a selfie. However, nobody can pass by.
Things They Eat: Ukraine
Spoiled with home-made borshch, holubtsy and cotlets, we are under an illusion that we know Ukrainian cuisine like the tips of own fingers and there is nothing distinctive about it while in fact gastronomic heritage of our country is far richer than a grandma’s ingenuous menu. Time has come to recall original Ukrainian dishes that were undeservedly forgotten in the era of semi-cooked products and fast food.
Twelve guises of South Korea
Only dancing and wearing mask, Korean peasants were able to express their disgust towards rudeness or greed of the hosts or apply to some deity with extraordinary request. Keeping anonymity, the people played out the scenes from life, cried, and laughed. At the end of the performance the destiny awarded the good characters and punished villains.
10 Facts About Ukraine
Over several years of our project’s operation we have created large amount of features, both texts and visuals, about various countries, visited numerous cities, got acquainted with huge number of peoples. And now, on the day of 25th anniversary of Ukrainian independence, Outlook with love and joy continues its series of features with the one about native country. Most interesting facts about Ukraine and Ukrainians are next to come.
A jewelry approach to perfection
Behind the window sad eyes of old man peered at Petrograd engulfed by revolutionary fire. This fire spread on his life's work: a proud four-story building was invaded by noisy commissioners and sailors, whose presence seemed a cruel joke after regular customers. Workshop owner Carl Gustavovich Fabergé, apparently, noticed in this chaos approaching decay of his career. However, he could have a secret gleam of hope for another life of his heritage. If only he knew that it would come true, maestro would hardly have lost his spiritual strength...
BALTIC GOLD: AMBER RUNNING THROUGH VEINS
We have amber flowing through our veins, joke the Balts. They believe that a sunny stone comes from tear drops of their goddess Jūratė. According to legend, she was careless enough to fall in love with a mere mortal fisherman named Kastytis who day by day cast his nets to the Baltic Sea. Jūratė forgot that immortal ones are not allowed to enjoy simple human happiness, she fascinated the young man to the bottom of the sea into her amber castle, and there the couple in love lost count of days and nights. On hearing this, the lord of gods Perkūnas decided to punish them: bolt of lightening stroke mortal lover, and disobedient lady was chained within her precious possessions for all eternity. Since then, the grieving goddess cries dropping yellow tears, and waters of the Baltic carry them to the shore for others to enjoy.
The Spouse of the Ambassador of Georgia organized a meeting of the Ambassadors Spouses Club and the show of national clothes
The spouse of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to Ukraine Irina Sultanishvili carried out a meeting of the Ambassadors Spouses Club, in the frame of which some traditional clothes was demonstrated.
Handicraft: persian rugs
In those days when the Persian soldiers were second to none, and both the Roman Empire and the Arabian Peninsula were conquered by their power, skilful fingers of winner nation craftswomen created their first masterpiece. The carpet called The Springtime passed into history as the most precious of all time. It symbolized powerful rule of the Persians, and its beauty told about the divine origin of the king Khosrow I.
Belgian Lace: Waltz of a Thousand Threads
At the sight of Flemish lacework it is hard to shake the feeling that miraculous flowers, artfully braided into a wreath of a pattern, were born from loose sparks that had escaped a magic wand. On the inside of the beauty there are efforts and days of jetsam girls, stolen from life by labyrinth of openwork loops. Having compelled self-will of the thread to a dream about heaven, promised for humility, skills defied despair and need – to secure victory.
Fashion Pioneers
Fashion is an act. Fashion is a demonstration of freedom. Not being afraid to once seem ridiculous and odd, a person risks to become a part of fashion industry. Some names it remembers, some are wrongly forgotten and for some it becomes a pursuit, the meaning of the whole life.
Play of Minsk Film Actor’s Studio Theater under support of Embassy of Belarus in the capital
In Kyiv academic theater of drama and comedy under support of Embassy of Belarus to Ukraine and Kyiv city governmental administration it was the play ‘Marriage contract’ of Minsk Film Actor’s Studio Theater. The performance was going in the frame of the tour in Ukraine.
Close
Outlook facebook page