25 September 2022, 03:53

Guardian of Ukrainian traditions Veniamin Kushnir

Guardian of Ukrainian traditions Veniamin Kushnir
During the decades of Soviet rule, Ukrainian artists tried to preserve the national spirit and culture, telling about the history and life of our country. Among them is Veniamin Kushnir, a teacher and public figure who was born in the Khmelnytsky region. He grew up on the poetry of Taras Shevchenko and folk songs, received an art education at the Lviv Institute of Applied and Decorative Arts, and already in his student years began to look for his own unique creative style.
The search led Kushnir to an interesting combination of modern trends in art with traditional elements inspired by the works of Grigory Skovoroda and Taras Shevchenko. After graduating from the institute, the artist almost immediately got a job as a teacher at the school. In 1954, Kushnir became a member of the Union of Artists, soon moved to Kyiv, and here he attracted the attention of connoisseurs of painting with his works, which were distinguished by humanity and sincerity.
The authorities sharply reacted to his love for native traditions, a negative attitude towards the author was demonstrated by the fact that one of his paintings, which ended up in the Zolotonosha vocational school, was used as a shutter on the window, and then completely hidden in the attic of the educational institution. A similar fate awaited other works of the master. Fortunately, Kushnir survived the repressions and continued to create. The difficult situation prompted him to move on to tragic motives, to reflections about a person and his place in society.
One of the central images was the image of the mother, embodied in a number of paintings: “Matir”, “Earth”, “Sorrowful Mother”. Veniamin Kushnir expressed his craving for his native land in landscapes depicting the Carpathians, the Kyiv region, and Podolia. These are light and bright works created in the early period, they are saturated with optimism. The late period is characterized by an oppressive atmosphere that came with complex changes in society on the eve and during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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