Ukrainian artist Yana Movchan has a style of light-doused neo-realism that garners national acclaim, belying her quiet Halifax-based practice. Hers are the sort of instant-classic canvases that bring a magical realist feel with their quiet symbolism—and, she’s now donating a work to an art auction benefiting Ukrainian refugees. Curated by the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (and featuring work from over 120 mid-career, blue-chip artists), the show promises to have lots to look at—but our eye keeps getting caught on the effervescent airs of Movchan’s work. (You can see the auction—including Movchan's donation—on the art world hub Artsy.)
“I am a Ukrainian born artist, living in [Halifax], Movchan says in an email to The Coast. “Always loved my country and when I first heard my country was under war it was surreal. Ukrainians were always nice and peaceful—but didn’t have a good neighbour. My Mother and friends still live in Ukraine, by heart and through the phone I am with my family all the time.”
When it comes to why she’s donating a work to the art auction, which runs until April 14, the answer is simple: “They need help. Lots of buildings, bridges, school, churches, are ruined, they need finances to rebuild everything,” Movchan writes. “Hopefully all of us can help, some with art, some with organizing this beautiful event and some with purchasing art for such a great cause! Bless Ukraine and thank you for helping a beautiful country.”
All proceeds from the auction will go towards four respected grassroots nonprofits: Razom (direct war and refugee crisis support), Insight NGO (working for LGBTQ Ukranians), Fight for Right (which aids Ukrainians with disabilities) and The Ukraine Art Emergency Fund (direct support for artists).