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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

“Altar of Nations” made of 250,000 pysankas

Art installation by Oksana Mas of an eight-floor building height presented in Kyiv
17 May, 2012 - 00:00
Photo by Kostiantyn HRYSHYN, The Day

The spectacular composition “Altar of Nations” has been presented at the Saint Sophia Square. The composition made of 250,000 pysankas (painted Easter eggs) is a copy of the Ghent Altar fragment created by the famous Flemish artists of the 15th century the Van Eycks brothers. According to Oksana Mas, the premiere in Kyiv is the beginning of the national exhibition tour “Altar of Nations” – one of its organizers is the Museum of Historical Heritage “Platar.” The prototype of the “Altar of Nations” – the project by Mas called “Post-vs-Proto-Renaissance” was presented by the author at the Venice Biennale last year.

The art installation is a huge canvas (22 meters high and 38 meters wide). The compositions consists of 15 fragments and it is only a part of Mas’s art project. The finished work will be a large-scale art object consisting of 302 panels with a total size of 92 by 134 meters.

According to the artist, the wooden Easter eggs were painted not only in Ukraine but in 42 countries around the world by many people willing to contribute to the project. Among the Ukrainian participants were professional egg painters, artists, children, including orphan children.

Pysankas were also painted by people who serve their sentence in prisons and colonies. “The grand-scale project ‘Altar of Nations’ should be completed within four years, it will require at least three million pysankas,” said Oksana MAS. “This composition shows the revival of ancient tradition of Ukrainian Easter eggs painting. I think that today pysanka becomes a part of contemporary art in Ukraine. The project ‘Altar of Nations’ unites people of all faiths and nationalities around the exalted idea of soul’s reviving.”

After the presentation in Kyiv fragments of the Altar will be installed on the central squares of the largest cities in Ukraine. In June “Altar of Nations” will be presented in Odesa and Yalta, and later it will travel to Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Lviv, and Zaporizhia.

By Tetiana POLISHCHUK, The Day