Re-Imagine Art Festival at the Ukrainian Institute of America

Walking through the rooms of the Ukrainian Institute of America on Friday, January 27th, was like reading through the textual labyrinths of Luis Borges. Each room of the beautiful mansion was transformed into art space offering a fusion takes on the questions surrounding identity, cultural displacement and lost time. Trying to find one’s place between the walls of the past and the future, the artists have created a body of compelling, emotionally charged works. On the ground floor was an installation by Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos made of steel, cotton and mirror, serving as a metaphor to re-imagine the self, while the dance of Inka Juslin invited the audience on higher floors into an unknown, mysterious land of performances, poetry, music and video projections…


…Transmigration, transmutation, transformation, transfiguration- a “trans” in anything- the continuous search to find oneself and to re-invent oneself – was evident in the works presented. The video installation of Katya Grokhovsky, an eternal migrant who spends her time between three countries Ukraine, Australia, America combined the personal and the political in a humorous fashion. The video portrayed the artist performing the male part of the Ukrainian national dance Hopak, while the female part was projected on the screen behind her. Referring to patriarchal regimes, the artist uses her personal experiences coupled with a childhood wish to dance the more dynamic, male role.

Artists’ re-imagination of their selves and their experiences isn’t about “drawing a line” that divides the visible and clear (reality) from vague and shadowy (memories, dreams), but rather accepting the inseparability of both.

When the curator Virlana Tkacz rang a little bell, the audience moved from one room to another, as if playing hopscotch, ready to discover more untold stories.



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