Ukranian-Canadian artist brings folklore and history together

woman with candles on head
Solastalgic Soliloquy, is a film about climate change and its impact on people and land/Photo Supplied

With a background in visual and fine arts, exhibiting at ACT Arts Centre’s Labour and Memory – Ukrainian Canadian Contexts is Ayla Dmyterko, a Ukrainian-Canadian artist who has weaved her artwork with cultural and historical studies.

Her work is not born from moments that are visually aesthetic. Instead, they are representative of spaces she has created, where people from diverse backgrounds can come together and share their cultural stories.

Read: Archival photos will tell the tale of Ukrainian immigrants at Maple Ridge art exhibit

“My interdisciplinary practice weaves together remedial forms of painting, moving image, dance, sculpture, textiles and texts. It explores how cultural memory exposes the traditions that exist amidst generational slippage,” she said.

Images and artists are mediums for Dmyterko and through such mediums, she explores the past that is constantly modified to reshape future concepts.

scene from a film
Rite of Return is a film by Ayla Dmyterko and will be part of the exhibition/Photo Supplied

Additionally, she uses a solastalgic and feminist lens.

Solastalgia is a form of depression caused by adverse environmental changes, especially for those who have lost their homes and lands as a result of drought, fire and floods.

As a Ukrainian-Canadian artist, she bridges the gap between her heritage and the modern day world and her work explores how humans and the Earth can reconnect in mutually beneficial ways.

Despite being so invested, she doesn’t pick favourites in her own work.

“Everything that I do comes from a place of cultural memory studies, where I am learning by entangling myself into layered histories.”

One of her works is Solastalgic Soliloquy, a film which utilizes a traditional Ukrainian dance as a way to convey folkloric traditions, in an untraditional way.

Another one of her works, Rite of Return is a film shot in Saskatchewan, on the traditional territories of Cree, Dakota, Lakota and the Nakoda First Nations.

digital archive
Peasants Under Glass is a folkloric costume for stage, a sheet of glass/ Digital photograph of archival intervention

It’s a ballet performance based on Slavic folklore. It focuses on solastalgia (climate change depression) and lack of community. The film also highlights strakh vylyvaty, a wax pouring technique used to heal anxieties related to land.

A third-generation Ukrainian-Canadian, she is currently in Glasgow working on a Global Talent Visa as a full-time artist.

Her works have been exhibited in Montreal, Regina, Milwaukee U.S., and the United Kingdom.

The exhibit is set to run till October 29 at the ACT Arts Centre from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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