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Touring Kyiv on a boiler house wall

20 December, 00:00

Not so long ago, the windows of the high-rise at vul. Tymoshenka, 13a, in Kyiv’s Obolon district, opened onto the banal landscape of a bedroom community, dominated by identical human beehives. Now these windows offer a panorama of the entire city of Kyiv, from its historic center to current development projects. Yes, it’s a miracle, but not a miracle of nature but of art. Close to 200 square meters of murals adorn a wall of an ordinary boiler house in an ordinary Obolon courtyard. It is a present to the local residents from their neighbor, the professional artist Mykhailo Khymych.

The subject of his mural is the tale of Kyiv: the capital’s architectural landmarks coexist in a single dimension with iconographic motifs and mythological creatures (Anthony and Theodosius, Archangel Michael, mermaids under a bridge, a damsel with a unicorn), and most importantly, with the residents of neighboring buildings, who can identify themselves in the depicted figures. Painted on the wall, as though reflected in a mirror, is the lucky building with an unlucky number. Locals are already gathering at the wall to conduct tours of Kyiv for their children. According to the dedication, the mural was “created with the help of God, with love for the audience, and in memory of Yuriy Khymych, an artist who painted Kyiv.” Yuriy Khymych is a meritorious Ukrainian artist and architect, and the father of the mural’s creator. In painting the mural, Mykhailo used a number of elements from his father’s famous works.

I happen to be a lucky resident of the building overlooking the wonderful mural. One gloomy morning I spotted bright, new colors in the otherwise drab landscape. I went to talk to the janitor, who was painstakingly sweeping dry leaves around the boiler house, and asked: “What is that?” You should have heard the pride in her voice when she answered: “That is a painting by an artist from our building.” Is there any doubt that Khymych will receive the community’s permission to carry out his next outdoor projects? Actually, the housing departments that service apartment blocks in Kyiv will probably be lining up for the artist’s services.

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