Oil and mixed
media on canvas

Presented at the collaborative online exhibition Mapping the City.
Supported by iArts Maastricht and Vonk Atelier.
The collaborative exhibition revolved around the city of Genk (Belgium); the city full of mystery and ambiguity. Historically, it was a mining city, and all life revolved around mining, attracting people from different cultures and countries. However, the minings finally closed down, leading to the end of the era and leaving many people without job and understanding of their future. Apart of that, the cultures were not really integrated, and the city today still feels rather fragmented and isolated.
During the project, the first corona wave and lockdown hit, making me search for the connection and feeling related to the closure of mines, feeling of uncertainty and necessity to reflect and search for other ways.

The paintings are the result of my exploration of the city in a combination of historical and personal perspectives. Throughout my work I was asking myself: What can Genk and its history teach us and how can it help us with going through current situation? With a very strong history of transformations related to humans and nature and different cultures united in one place, Genk became a symbol of humanity in my work.
Throughout my process I was able to find a common thread for my work: humans and fire. At some moment I realised that they indeed became the same symbol, and connection between humans and nature became something explored both from outside and inside perspectives.

Fire and humans are closer than we can imagine, they both are the powers of destruction and creation, disruptive and life-giving forces.
Human stole the secrets of fire, they went deep inside the earth to take it. Humans started to build their own volcanoes.
Now it is time to create a fire of contemplation, a fire to protect the connection
My back is a mountain, my spine is a tree.
They have natural textures as they are part of it.

There is no nature and humans.
I am nature and nature is me.

To protect nature is to protect myself.
To destroy nature is to destroy myself.

I am a first human-being, hiding in the cave from danger, from storms and enemies, from death.
I am Saint Barbara, hiding in the mine from my father, who wants to take away my belief, from death.
I am Marichka, hiding in my room in Ukraine from virus, from death.

And I am also a shelter, made from Earth, Water, Fire and Wood.

The day will come, and I will need to leave my shelter, as I can not hide all my life and all lives that go through me. I will take a step, and nothing will be as before. The danger will stay, but I will become wiser, knowing.

Because where I am now is where my base is, I am the anlage, that which will become.

Once again, I took a step back to change the direction and take a step forward. I am preparing for it.

I AM A VOLCANO,

I AM INSIDE A VOLCANO

"As a child, I used to believe there were volcanoes in my city" - once said to me by my friend, who grew up in a mining city, referring to slag heaps that look so much like volcanoes."

oil on canvas, 20x20

THREE SACRED FIRES



Wood and fire for shelter, defence and rituals.

Humans reshaping nature, nature reshaping humans.




"I grew up near the mountains, and they formed my imagination: imagination of nature, wide spaces, colours. I know a person, who grew up seeing mines and mining hills... it is a completely different imagination" - told me Iryna Firman, a member of Ukrainian community in Genk.


oil on canvas, 30x30

CREATION OF FIRE

Ancient Greeks celebrating Volcania in the name of God of Fire with hanging their clothes on the sun. Miners hanging their clothes that never dry before they need to wear them again.

oil and mixed media on canvas, 30x30

MY BACK IS A MOUNTAIN



In Jewish tradition there is a tale about Modest mountain that is not the highest or strongest one, but can still contain a power of fire that can destroy all the life or create most of the surface of earth.

oil and mixed media on canvas, 30x30

ANLAGE

"Within the anlage is the primal substance which in time will develop, causing us to become a complete someone" - Clarissa Pinkola Estés

oil on canvas, 30x30

I perceive it as a way of seeing 'in-between', a constant movement, something that is becoming. Once mining was Anlage, going deep inside the Earth. And someday we will see how the state we are in today: locked in our homes and our minds, going deep inside our souls, surrounded by uncertainty - was Anlage

Anlage (from German: 'foundation') is the part of a cell characterised as 'that which will become’; it is the potential for further growth and development.
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