On Tuesday December 17, 6 to 9 PM there will be the opening of “ Carpathian Photo Patterns,” an exhibit of photographic art inspired by the Hutsul Koliada by Volodymyr Klyuzko and Alexander Khantaev at the Bezpala-Brown Gallery 17 Church Street (@Front) in Toronto (416) 907-6875 www.bezpalabrown.com . The opening will feature a special concert by the Koliadnyky and a holiday cocktail – $15. The exhibit continues at the Bezpala-Brown Gallery Tues-Sun 10-6? Till December 29, 2013.
Alexander Khantaev and Volodymyr Klyuzko are two artist who have spent years documenting the Hutsul Koliada and Yara’s performances based on the Koliada. The Koliada is considered to be the most important event of the year. The songs are incantations that assume the magical power of words: “what is said, will be so.”
ALEXANDER KHANTAEV is an artist and photographer born in the Siberian who studied at the University of Irkutsk. His work appeared in numerous publications in Ulan Ude, Buryatia, as well as in Moscow, Kyiv and New York. In January of 2003 Alexander Khantaev traveled with Yara director, Virlana Tkacz, to the village of Kryvorivnia in the Carpathian Mountains. For two weeks they documented the Koliada , an ancient winter ritual that is now celebrated around Christmas, but has its roots in pre-Christian times. The photographs exhibited here are a re-conceptionalization of images from this expedition. Originally, they were shown as Koliada: Winter Solstice Rituals from the Carpathian Mountains at La MaMa Galleria, the RA Gallery in Kyiv, the Cultural Center and Museum of the village of Kryvorivnia and at the Open Space Gallery in Saratoga Springs. In 2005 they were incorporated into Yara’s art installation Still the River Flows: A Glimpse into the Winter Solstice Ritual in a Carpathian Village at the Ukrainian Museum in New York. Mr. Khantaev also photographed Yara’s productions with the Koliadanyky “Koliada” (2004) in Kyiv, “Koliada: Twelve Dishes” (2005) at La MaMa in New York and “Still the River Flows” (2008).
Previously, Mr. Khantaev traveled with Yara Arts Group to the Ust-Orda Buryat Region where he fell in love with the landscape, especially the cliffs of the sacred island of Olkhon on Lake Baikal where he started to document various traditional shaman rituals. In August of 2000 Shaman Bayir Rinchinov invited Yara Arts Group and Mr. Khantaev to document shaman rituals in the Aga-Buryat Region. The photographs Mr. Khantaev took during this expedition were shown at La MaMa Galleria in New York City, at the Open Space Gallery in Saratoga Springs, the RA Gallery in Kyiv, Buryat National Library in Ulan Ude, the Zhamtsarno Library in Aginsk, the Khanenko Museum of East and West Art in Kyiv, Northern Westchester Center for the Arts, Memorial Union Gallery of Indiana University and the New York Public Library. They are featured in the prize-winning book, Shanar: Dedication Ritual of a Buryat Shaman, ” published Parabola Press in the fall of 2002.
VOLODYMYR KLYUZKO is a Kyiv artist, photographer and videographer. He has been a coordinator of the GogolFest’s International Contemporary Arts Festival since 2009. In December of 2012, Mr. Klyuzko showed his “Photo Patterns”, a kaleidoscopic interpretation of life in the Carpathian Mountain villages from Yara’s research trip to Ukraine that summer at La MaMa Galleria in New York. In June 2013 he first displayed his “Berezzza” project as part of the set for Yara’s Fire Water Night theatre production at La MaMa Theatre in New York. This September “Berezzza” was part of the International Contemporary Arts festival at GogolFest. In January 2012 his video “Illusion of Movement” was shown at the “Re-Imagine Ourselves Festival” presented by Yara Arts Group at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York. In April of 2013 his video “Flying Brain,” inspired by a poem by Victoria Stakh, was shown at the Video Poetry Series of Kinofest NYC at the Ukrainian Museum in New York. Mr. Klyuzko has worked on set and projection design with Yara Arts Group since 2010. In 2011 he was nominated for a NY Innovative Theatre Award for his projections on Yara’s Raven . He also created the projections for Yara’s Dream Bridge , Midwinter Night , Fire Water Night , Captain John Smith Goes to Ukraine and Underground Dreams , as well as Yara’s presentations at the Lviv Book Forum.
The Koliada Project and Yara Arts Group in collaboration with the Ukrainian Culture Festival have brought the Koliadnyky from the Carpathian mountains to present them in a series of concerts “Koliada and Music from the Carpathians” For more on the Koliadnyky Winter Song Singers: http://www.brama.com/yara/koliada-bios-13.html
The Koliada related events in Toronto will culminate with performances of “ Midwinter Night: Sacred” and Profane Rituals on December 27-29 at the Harbourfront Center with a special premiere on Friday at 8 PM. There are also performances on Saturday at 3 PM and 8 PM and Sunday at 3 PM at Enwave Theatre at the Harbourfront Center, 235 Queen Quay West, Toronto. Tickets for the gala opening on December 27 are $150, as a special campaign “Show Your Heart: Your gala ticket supports 10 student discounts.” Tickets for Saturday & Sunday are $35, students $25, children $15. (416) 973-4000.
Since its founding in 1990, Yara Arts Group has created 28 original theatre pieces based on materials from the East. New York critics have called Yara’s theatre pieces: “good theatre that builds an alternate world that allows us to re-learn and reflect upon the great questions at the core of our being human.” Yara began its collaboration with traditional artists from the Carpathians in 2003, and has developed performances in Kyiv, Philadelphia, Edmonton and New York, as well as theatre pieces “ Koliada: Twelve Dishes” , “ Still the River Flows”, “ Winter Sun” and “ Midwinter Night” at the world renowned La MaMa Experimental Theatre in New York. Photographs and video of the koliada ritual in the village of Kryvorivnia have been exhibited at the RA Gallery in Kiev, La Galleria, Ukrainian Institute in New York, Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs and a major art installation at the Ukrainian Museum in New York.
The Koliada events in Toronto are made possible by funds from the Shevchenko Foundation and the Ukrainian Credit Union. Yara Arts Group’s participation is made possible by the Coca-Cola Company and the friends of Yara Arts Group.