The timeless art of connecting

Andrij-Lev 250109_08

Goya Dmytryshchak

Residents of Melbourne’s north-west are among those featured in a new book, The Art of Lockdown, revealing how the Ukrainian community used art and culture to connect and maintain wellbeing during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Project co-ordinators Chrestyna Kmetj and Natalia Moravski said the idea grew like wildfire via The Art of Lockdown Facebook group and virtual exhibition, quickly going international. Some of the artworks have been compiled in the book. Below, some of our local residents explain the meanings behind their contributions.

Andrij-Lev, 10, from Mother of God Primary School, Ardeer

I sometimes draw whatever comes into my mind. Sometimes, I don’t know what to draw and then I just sit next to the paper for hours doing nothing. A lion is actually my favourite animal because my name actually has ’lion’ in it (Lev). At the moment we are doing home-schooling. It was a little bit more difficult because there was only my siblings to play with, no one else.  

Osija Anolak, Gisborne

COVID lockdown in 2020 awarded me the time to focus on creating a quilt that would represent my thoughts of women and the important role they play in society. I have never done any quilting before, so the task seemed daunting. The double wedding ring design is traditionally made by mothers and grandmothers for their children and given as gifts on their wedding day or anniversaries. It is a complex pattern as it has a lot of moving parts and was quite frustrating to assemble. Once this quilt was complete, I felt inspired to keep creating, so by the start of 2021 I had completed eight unique quilts for my family and close friends.

Maru Jarockyj, Sunbury

The prolonged lockdown brought with it moments of mental anguish, fears for the war in Ukraine, spiritual reflection and psychological agony. The anguish and the agony landed on the canvas in blood red and fiery yellow shapes around an iconic father image: hands pierced with red suffering dripping onto the yellow Ukrainian tridents. Hope extinguishes fear and the yellow cross promises a resurrection, a new era, a new post-COVID renaissance.

Irene Karaszkewycz, Doreen

I decided to embroider during COVID as it was a way of keeping positive and calm. It also became a period to reflect on the past and engage with the future.

Genia Husiak, Altona Meadows

During lockdown in Melbourne 2020, I used the opportunity to complete some of my embroidery projects. Drawing on my Ukrainian background, I completed a table runner in a traditional colourful cross stitch.

Ivanna Yarish-Figurek, Wyndham

To break the monotony of the days during lockdown, I decided to do some art. Christmas always evokes wonderful memories of a carefree childhood, joy, comfort and family unity, so I chose Christmas decorations. When I saw the exhibition, Art of Lockdown, I decided to join it and unite myself with the Ukrainian community in Australia

Symon Herczaniwski, Caroline Springs

The original idea of the artwork was to have two colours combine in a sort of conflict. The artwork doesn’t have a meaning – people are free to come up with what they think the meaning or inspiration of the artwork is.