Artists launch “Gonta” exhibition to unite Ukraine spiritually


Kyiv, July 22, 2015. The new “Gonta” [Shingle] exhibition by father-son duo, Lev and Mykhailo Skop, and the Cactus creative association opened at Ukraine Media Crisis Center as part of a cultural diplomacy project among Ukraine’s regions. “Gonta” is comprised of 160 icons from various Ukrainian artists. Each of them is painted on a shingle from the roof of the Church of St. Yura in Drohobych,” said artist Lev Skop during the exhibition’s opening. “The age of the material for each icon is anywhere from 100 to 300 years old,” explained Mykhailo Skop.

Over the course of the next two weeks, not only can anyone view the exhibition, but they can also buy a historic icon. “Each icon costs 1,000 hryvnia. All the proceeds will go to support the Ukrainian army,“ said Leonid Marushchak, Curator of the Art Division at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

Fifteen artists from Cactus worked on “Gonta.” “First, we were very worried that the icons would be too similar. When we gathered the finished icons all together, we were simply amazed. They are unique. And the different stroke patterns make it possible to recognize the style, and thus the individuality, of each artist,” explained Mykhailo Skop. According to Skop, this exhibition is only a small part of what artists can do to support the Ukrainian army. “He who has a strong body and arms goes off to fight, while I am an artist. My task is to do all that I can to help to the best of my ability. Only by working together can we successfully defend Ukraine,” added Mykhailo.

By the author’s design, “Gonta” is built in the form of a wall. “Icons represent the spiritual power of art, which will act as a defensive barrier for Ukraine, protecting it from enemies and reminding Ukrainians that we are all citizens of one country. We are united,” said Lev Skop.

As part of the cultural diplomacy project, the next place the exhibition will be presented is in the city of Sloviansk, in Donetsk region. “Ukraine’s current political division mirrors that which existed in the distant Cossacks’ time. We must understand that when we speak only in the language of weapons, war may never end. Therefore, the language of art should be used to unite the whole country,” summarized Marushchak.