Another grey day in Kiev woke me up. My stay in Kiev was painted with the grey sky blurring from the strong wind.
Ksenya and I headed to Mystetskyi Arsenal National Art and Culture Museum Complex for Maria Prymachenko ‘s exhibition. It is located in Lavrska Street where the exhibition. Her name sounds utterly foreign to me. And, her portrait represents she was a typical peasant woman who led a humble life. When we arrived in the venue, the symbol of the Ukraine map made of one chunk of red bricks welcomed us at the main gate, and showed well to us Maria Prymachenko is a national artist.
At the first sight, her paintings, a full of exotic animals which also looked like a number of mythical animals in Korea — especially various versions of lions — led me to think her works can be enjoyed by many children and family. However, when I looked the work closely, I found out deeper level of touch adding patters like perhaps Ukrainian traditional textile to the skin of animals, which we can see from a farm and village. Furthermore, I could also observe the traditional Ukrainian wedding or peasant life through animals Maria Prymachenko created. While appreciating her works, I was already brought to her world thinking how the animals in her life could have felt.
Prymachenko had always been inspired by her motherland Polissya nature, and her art had undeniably grown from the oldest branches of the genealogical tree of ancient folk art. Let us, for example, pay attention to the grid painted on the heads of her horses. “Binary” images of heads and torsoes of the animals, to which the artist often resorted, go back to the Paleolithic art. The pagan images of fantastic beasts and birds are embodied in her pictures. Prymachenko`s art seems to synthesize the experience of many generations of the Ukrainian craftsmen. One of the sources of her creativity are Ukrainian domestic wall paintings. It is one of the oldest genres of the world decorative art. Retried from http://en.uartlib.org/ukrainian-artists/prymachenko-maria/
The exhibition place was not a grand scale, yet, spacious enough to feel tired after two hours of standing watching innocent and passionate artist’s artworks. Feeling cold and tired, Ksenya and I needed comforting food.
On the very first day when Vitalii and Ksenya picked me up, the first place we dropped by was a local restaurant that served a typical Ukrainian cuisine near Lev Tolstoi Square. When the plane touched down at the Kiev International Airport (Zhuliany), my stomach was churning with hunger due to the hassle I had in Minsk, Belarus. My first impression on the Ukrainian cuisine was similar to that of other Eastern European countries and Russia; yet, consumption of sour cream is second to none here in Ukraine.
I particularly loved starch and potato-based food that went well with sour cream. The cold and grey weather made me look for Borshch and the heavy potato based food with rich sour cream during my entire stay in Kiev. Another dish called Varenyky, a dumpling stuffed with mashed potatoes, fried onions, cabbage, sauerkraut, meat, mushrooms, spinach and so on was also one of my favourite. Needless to say, it is fantastic with sour cream. Personally, I needed vegetables and some sort of sour and fresh taste such as lemon, or oranges to free from the heavy feelings. However, the food is humble but rich in its calories, therefore, Ukrainian people must have been comforting themselves spending harsh winter and overcoming their destine in history.