The painter Alfons Kulakowski’s exhibition “From Here and There” will open at the Center for Ukrainian Culture and Arts on September 27. It will include 44 paintings by the master, a fraction of Kulakowski’s 6,000 artworks, created over several decades in Almaty, Samara, Moscow, Warmia, and Mazury. Being an excellent colorist, he has held exhibitions in many countries, one of the largest of them in Brussels in 2009.
“I was lucky to be born in Ukraine, am happy to be a Pole and still more happy to be able to unite Poland and Ukraine through my art. The art can do a lot for all of us together and for everyone. It is a good way of uniting peoples,” Kulakowski said in an interview.
His paintings reveal the philosophy of life and the beauty of the world. He paints landscapes, seeing it as “the most democratic genre, the most public-friendly one, as there is nothing more artistic than love of nature which is an art in itself...” The artist’s works feature bright and vivid colors.
Let us recall that Kulakowski was born in 1927 in the village of Osykove near Berdychiv. The family was exiled to Siberia in the 1930s, where he lived before escaping to Kazakhstan as a 17-year-old. It was in Almaty, the Kazakh capital, that Kulakowski learned painting. He lived mostly in Kazakhstan and Russia, before moving to Poland for good in 1999.
The master himself confesses to having been born... several times. The first time was his physical coming into the world, the second birth he ascribes to the day when he first heard the sound of the organ in a Roman Catholic church in Berdychiv, and the third birth occurred when Kulakowski saw a hastily drawn sketch of a street with houses and realized that a picture can depict reality! He became an artist at that very moment.
Kulakowski suffered a shocking disaster in 2009, when nearly 6,000 of his landscapes as well as numerous family records perished in a fire that destroyed his residence. The only survivors were the paintings that were being exhibited in Brussels on that fateful day. Still, his parents and the lifelong experience have taught the artist to look forward, avoiding looking back, grieving or complaining!
The Kyiv exhibition will run until October 11.