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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

“Keep the Golden Thread…”

An exhibit to mark Olha Kobylianska’s birth anniversary is on at the Chernivtsi Oblast Art Museum
3 December, 2013 - 11:52
WE HAVE BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO SEEING THE WRITER’S PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAIT IN TEXTBOOKS AND ANTHOLOGIES SHOWING AN ELDERLY WOMAN, A BIT SEVERE-LOOKING AND SLIGHTLY SAD. HOWEVER, SHE WAS A BEAUTY IN HER YOUTH! / Photo from GR-CZERNOWITZ.LIVEJOURNAL.COM

The exhibition celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Olha Kobylianska (1863-1942). It displays artworks from the museum’s collection as well as a private one belonging to the Honored Master of Folk Art, honorary citizen of Chernivtsi, collector and local historian Ivan Snihur, and works by famous contemporary local artists.

Visitors are welcome to listen to thematic lectures “Books Are a Deep Sea” and “Kobylianska and Her Legacy as Reflected in the Bukovynian Art of the 20th and 21st Centuries” as well as to watch movie Melancholic Waltz and a recording of the regional state TV’s broadcast Unknown Stories about Kobylianska.

Let us recall that the first Bukovynian female artist Augusta Kochanowska’s creative ways shaped under Kobylianska’s influence, as she met the author when the Kobylianskys lived in Campulung in 1874, befriended her, stayed a close friend for a long time, and corresponded with her. It was Kochanowska who took a portrait of Kobylianska and illustrated her works Nature, Battle, An Ignorant Woman, Melancholic Waltz, Under the Open Sky, and On Sunday Morning She Gathered Herbs, all published in the collection КKleinrussische Novellen (Little Russian Novelettes) in German in 1901. Some of these illustrations are on display at the Kobylianska Literary Memorial Museum.

The Chernivtsi writer lived for almost 15 years in Novy Svit Street (now Shevchenka Street) next to the family of artist Yustyn Pihuliak and was always a welcome guest at his home. She was friends with his daughters, all good singers and pianists. The Pihuliaks’ everyday life provided material for Kobylianska’s novel In Search of Situations, and father of the novel’s protagonist pianist Ahlaia clearly resembles Pihuliak.

Naturally, a portrait of Kobylianska is among Pihuliak’s most valuable works. At the request of the author, the artist portrayed her at home, sitting at a table with flowers, a book, and a little bouquet of wild chamomiles pinned to her blouse.

Some exhibits are unique, such as the original photograph of the writer with male choir, taken in 1932, or Kobylianska’s icon-like portrait, embroidered and framed, which police found in Karbulytsky’s kitchen garden after searching his apartment. Visitors can also see a unique photographic portrait of young Kobylianska that was published in Literary Scientific Herald in 1898.

We have become accustomed to seeing the writer’s photographic portrait in textbooks and anthologies showing an elderly woman, a bit severe-looking and slightly sad. However, she was a beauty in her youth! The issue of Literary Scientific Herald on display contains a photo of a young, beautiful woman with delicate features, fashionably and stylishly dressed. Kobylianska’s portrait from Snihur’s collection is another exhibit.

“Her portraits decorated our people’s homes, often embroidered at the edges,” the head of the Art Museum’s research and education department Larysa Kurushchak told us. “This one carries inscription on its back which reads ‘Police found this exhibit in Karbulytsky’s kitchen garden after searching his apartment in 1963.’”

The exhibition includes also works by contemporary artists Orest Kryvoruchko, Ivan Balan, Svitlana Krachylo, Liudmyla Bohdan, and Maryna Rybachuk, inspired by the talented Bukovynian’s life and creative legacy.

By Maria VYSHNEVSKA, Chernivtsi
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