Kateryna Bilokur. I want to be an artist!Exhibitions

Kateryna Bilokur. I want to be an artist!

Kateryna Bilokur. I want to be an artist!
Мистецький Арсенал
вул. Лаврська, 10-12
Київ, Київська область 01010

Kateryna Bilokur, one of the most famous and at the same time unknown Ukrainian artists of the twentieth century. It would seem that everyone has heard this name, but mostly it is only a very literal association with floral motifs. However, Bilokur’s works has much deeper existential dimension, and the artist’s biography is an extremely bright and topical story about the fate of a brilliant woman who sought art practising in Ukrainian province during the period of serious historical and political circumstances of the twentieth century. 

For the first time in the history of independent Ukraine the exhibition project will present almost all Kateryna Bilokur’s works at the unprecedented exhibition from the collection of the State Museum of Ukrainian Decorative Folk Art, Yagotynsky State Historical Museum, and other leading Ukrainian museums. It is about 100 masterpieces including oil paintings, drawings, and small sketches. Finally, viewers will be able to evaluate the talent of the unique woman artist who is one of the symbols of Ukrainian culture. 

«I want to be an artist» is an autobiographical quote and Kateryna Bilokur’s credo. This phrase is a crucial moment that completely changed the life of a young woman who had to sacrifice her personal happiness for the sake of art. Being a person who did not even receive primary education and lived in primitive conditions of the Soviet Ukrainian village, Bilokur experienced all the horrible events of Ukrainian history of the last century, like: revolution, Holodomor, World War II, and, despite everything, was able to turn her daring dream of becoming an artist to reality. Even in the 20s of the twentieth century, a young woman took an independent and courageous decision to devote herself to painting, and this step was a powerful protest against the conservative patriarchal environment where all Kateryna Bilokur’s life was spent. Such devotion to her ideal and incredible depth of the artist’s works put her on a par with the world’s greatest artists of the twentieth century, many of whom, as well as Kateryna Bilokur, were self-taught. 

Where does this powerful and sometimes irrational desire of practising art come from? Have conditions changed for women artists who decide on contemporary art in modern Ukraine? What does this choice mean for Ukrainian women artists who are working in new media and, particularly, experimenting in the genre of video art? The Mystetskyi Arsenal becomes a platform of dialogue through decades between Kateryna Bilokur and Ukrainian women, who, like Bilokur almost hundred years ago, speak out the daring phrase «I want to be an artist!»


  • Curator:

    Alisa Lozhkina

  • Partners:

    The State Museum of Ukrainian Decorative Folk Art»

    Yagotynsky State Historical Museum

    National Museum of Ukrainian Literature

    Taras Shevchenko National Museum

    Literary-Memorial Museum-Apartment of Pavlo Tychina

    Publishing house «Rodovid»

    Oleksandr Dovzhenko National Center

    Ivan Franko National Academic Drama Theatre

    Department of Culture, Nationalities and Religions of the Kyiv Regional State Administration