Guardian Passage

Guardian Passage Poster

GALLERY HIGHLIGHT: Duderstadt Center Gallery
December 6 – 22, 2023
Opening Reception: Sunday, December 10, 2-4 p.m.

In Guardian Passage: The Power of Ukrainian Cultural Memory in the Face of War, artists Irina Bondarenko and Katya Lisova employ the tools and imagery of traditional Ukrainian art forms to face down the existential threat brought about by Russia’s war on Ukraine. 

Bondarenko’s installation forms a causeway for visitors to encounter Ukrainian poetry and the art form of motanka dolls in a newly imagined configuration. Motanka are guardian symbols traditionally made by upcycling old family textiles. Bondarenko’s ceramics illustrate motanka in situations responding to the war; each graphic is accompanied by a poem. These ceramics act as lifeboats, which ferry the Ukrainian resistance through the flood waters of destruction. 

Lisova’s series of tapestries, modeled after traditional decorative and ritual textiles called rushnyks, explore the power of cultural memory to grow in times of war. Traditional embroidery explodes on the surface of photo collage, where images of the past and present collide on a single surface. Like a lifeline, red thread connects these projects, weaving through clay and fabric, bringing tradition to bear on new significances and the cultural will to resist and thrive. 

This exhibition is part of the LSA theme semester on “Arts and Resistance” and offered in conjunction with the workshop “Making Motanka: Ukrainian Guardian Dolls” on December 8, 4-6 pm in Design Lab 1.