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

In memory of artist Polina Raiko

A museum of naive art is going to be created in Kherson oblast
14 December, 2016 - 18:05
Illustration courtesy of the author

The oblast authorities of Kherson plan to transform the house of artist Polina Raiko in Oleshky into a Museum of Naive Art, the first in Ukraine. The intention is stated in the action plan for the regional development of culture and spirituality in 2017.

The Department of Culture at Kherson Oblast State Administration cooperates with Oleshky Raion State Administration in order to buy the mansion, which previously belonged to Polina Raiko at 74 Street Nyzhnia, Oleshky. Currently, the house belongs to the couple of contemporary art connoisseurs from Canada. A local resident takes care of the building, but due to the lack of regular contact with the owners, the house is gradually falling into a dilapidated state, along with Polina Raiko’s pictures. The project of purchasing and land management for the house is going to be provided with 650,000 hryvnias from the oblast budget. The authorities plan to raise another 300,000 from other sources.


Polina Raiko (May 15, 1928 – January 15, 2004) is a Ukrainian self-taught artist in the style of naive painting. Polina Raiko had had a stressful life. The woman survived the death of her daughter in a car accident, the death of her husband, and the several years of beatings from her own son. When the son was sentenced to a prison colony, Polina Raiko began to paint on the walls of the empty house in the age of 69. She had spent almost her entire pension on paint until her death in 2004. Polina Raiko had no art education. The artist’s imagery combines Christian, Soviet, and pagan symbols. With simple colors she painted her own house, the summer kitchen, the gates, the fences, and garage doors, portraying her own life, the lives of her relatives and pets, pictures of nature. After the death of Polina Raiko, her works of art became a subject of interest among art lovers. In 2005, Totem Center for Youth Initiatives published a catalog of Raiko’s works entitled The Road to Heaven. Nadia Koshman created the documentary Heaven in 2006, which refers to the life and art of Polina Raiko.

By Ivan ANTYPENKO, The Day, Kherson