Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Iryna Yashan: a professional amateur

An exhibition of Orthodox icons and monotype landscapes is open
8 April, 2015 - 17:33
Mother of God / Photo replica courtesy of the exhibit’s curator Lesia HOLOVACH

Through April 12, the Museum of Ukraine’s Prominent Cultural Figures will display a truly beautiful artwork by Iryna Yashan, artist from western Ukraine. The exhibition includes a magnificent series of exquisite landscapes created in monotyping technique, as well as sacred images, painted in color and elegantly embroidered with beads.

“The Only Imprint” is the first Yashan’s exhibition at a museum in the capital. An amazing story precedes this event, which again demonstrates how the fate smiles to the talented and humble. Lesia Holovach, young theater artist and graduate student, was taking a tour of Ivano-Frankivsk local history museum and saw the caretaker drawing stunning monotypes right at the workplace. She stopped to admire the delicate pearly light of wonderful landscapes… and was immediately drawn into a conversation by the outgoing and friendly artist and began asking about her work.

Looking at Yashan’s artwork, one simply will not believe that she is an amateur. It seems that she inherited an undeniable aesthetic flair in her genes, as whatever challenge she undertakes, whatever technique she utilizes – her work will always be characterized by an impeccable taste, perfect proportions, a distinct and harmonious flavor, and a bright and joyful attitude of a believer. As it turned out, the artist had not been thinking about any attention of the audience – she simply gifted all her fine works away. Apparently, she finds more value in the artistic process itself and thus cared little about the promotion of her art. Following the offer of Lesia Holovach, who became the project’s initiator and curator, Iryna’s icons and monotypes were put into the exhibition schedule of the Museum of Ukraine’s Prominent Cultural Figures, and tonight the general public has the opportunity to meet them.

Iryna Yashan was born in Kolodiiv, a sub-Carpathian village near Ivano-Frankivsk. Studying at school, she took part in many regional children’s drawing exhibitions and competitions. Her creativity required more theory to grow, but she decided against enrolling in a prestigious art institute after school, choosing a humble profession of engineer draftswoman instead.

She began her career in a technological design institute, and afterwards joined a sub-Carpathian scientific and cultural center – Ivano-Frankivsk local history museum, which is dedicated to the history, folk art, and iconography of Boikivshchyna, Hutsulshchyna, Opillia, and Pokuttia. There Iryna received an unrestricted access to the best carving, pottery, embroidery, weaving, and pysanka artifacts, as well as the opportunity to practice her artistry.

By Olena SHAPIRO, art historian