Kateryna Vasylivna Bilokur is a gift album, which contains rare photos, sketches, and letters that have been preserved in museums’ archives. Materials for the research were provided by Yahotyn State Historical Museum, Memorial Estate-Museum of Kateryna Bilokur in Bohdanivka, and Yahotyn Art Gallery.
The book has been compiled by journalist Valentyna Klymenko and artist Iryna Pasichnyk. The authors wanted to reconsider the role of Kateryna Bilokur in modern cultural context by using data from archival documents.
“The same kind of event like the one taking place in Mystetsky Arsenal art gallery is now being held in the Ukrainian Museum in Manhattan. That is why the book was published in Ukrainian and English. With this book our country could adequately present the Ukrainian artistic treasury to the world,” said Olena Osypchuk, CEO of the RODOVID publishing house, which has published the new book.
In 2010 and in 2011 the publishing house released first two books about the artist from Bohdanivka: Kateryna Bilokur: Art Commandment and Kateryna Bilokur. Folk, Naive or High Art? Both are in album format, but differ in that the first book has more photo replicas and the second contains the results of the studies by modern researchers, writers, and public figures.
Jennifer Cahn, American art critic, one of the authors of the second book, admits: “Without the letters the art works of the artist were not entirely clear. When I was invited to work on this book it was the first time I have heard about this artist. I was so surprised to see the art works of such high level! After visiting the museum and her home I realized that talent can grow in exceptionally quiet place. I was particularly impressed with the fact that a woman without art education has managed to find the strength to become famous. With her strong character she did everything it took to exhibit her works. I am happy that I had a chance to become acquainted, even in absentia, with the artistic heritage of this feminist-artist.”
The artist was a white spot on the artistic map of the world not only for the researcher from Texas. Even Ukrainians know very little about the work of the great artists in their homeland. Why little is said in the information environment today about such figures as Kateryna Bilokur? The organizers of the presentation believe that combined efforts of artists, museum workers, and journalists can change this situation. There was also expressed the thought that paintings by Bilokur should be actively introduced in great curator exhibitions of modern art projects. Such things always actualize an artist and the paintings of such innovative artist as Bilokur would look good next to the modern paintings.
Kostiantyn Kozhemiaka, director of the Huss Publishing House, suggested his version of popularizing the art of Bilokur: “Because of the way I was brought up I did not really understand art before. After I started to work with Mystetsky Arsenal, I became interested and got a desire to learn. And when I saw the paintings by Bilokur, I sensed a whiff of tremendous energy and it made me feel that I can sense all the things that the artist did: her passion, dedication, pain, and great desire to create. Therefore, I suggest making a loose-leaf calendar with reproductions of Bilokur’s paintings to make her art accessible for the Ukrainian people. And the money raised from selling those calendars could be directed to a charitable cause – given to a museum or something of a kind.”