Ukraine and Artist Kazimir Malevich


Whatever tragedy the Ukrainian people went through in the early 1930s with the Holodomor (Terror Famine), sadly, Kazakhstan also experienced the same starvation and deprivation.  Please read my blog entry from yesterday concerning the short story I read by Andrey Platonov titled “Soul.”  I love the fact the publishers used this painting done by Kazimir Malevich titled “Torso in a Yellow Shirt” on the front cover of this “Soul” book.  Malevich had ethnic Polish roots but claimed to be a Ukrainian and showed through his simplistic art some of the pain he saw around him in Ukraine. (note too in the “Torso”‘s opaque painting that Malevich pledges allegiance to Ukraine’s colors by predominately using yellow and blue, the two colors of their current national flag) 

The following paintings I got off of  I can’t help but think about the saying: “Life is short but art is long” especially in terms of those brave artists who tried to show the devastation they witnessed around them during the Holodomor.



2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    kaankangal said,

    1- Holodomor is dated as 1931 and 1932. But Malevich painted his Torso in a Yellow Shirt in 1930.
    2- How do you know that he “shows” the pain he saw?
    3- How can be sure that he doesn´t “show” the “pain” from the famine in early 1920s?

  2. 2

    Kazakhnomad said,

    Kaankangal, you are right Malevich may have been showing what he knew from the 1920s famine and NOT the 1930s. I believe from some of the other paintings I’ve seen of his that he was portraying desolation from what the Soviet policies were doing to the Ukrainian people. Certainly seeing the above three men standing uselessly by with no arms depicts pain of their powerlessness. Or the man running, from what? Seems there is dripping blood and his flight is in fright of his life.

    You are right, perhaps it doesn’t show the pain as much as the misery of a people being muzzled and stripped of their dignity because of starvation. Famine will do that no matter what decade it happened in. There was also the famine AFTER the Great Patriotic War in the late 1940s so Ukraine was hit with three famines, 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, not to mention the devastation of WWII. After awhile, who has the will to show this cruelty against a whole nation? Not many, so the closest we may come to seeing what happened 70 or 80 years ago in Ukraine is in the artwork done by artists like Malevich.

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