Petrovsky-Shtern’s exhibition in Chicago unveils life during war

March 19,2024 424
Petrovsky-Shtern’s exhibition in Chicago unveils life during war

The Confronting Catastrophes exhibition by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, a Ukrainian-American historian and artist, has opened in the United States. The exhibition features paintings that illustrate life in times of war, currently on display at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago.

“Admirers of contemporary art have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the works of the Ukrainian artist, historian, gifted with a multifaceted intellectual toolkit. The exhibition resonates with the state of the country’s soul – against a red-black background, the canvases are sprinkled with white color. As is known, it signifies the beginning, the possibility to reread history, to contemplate the experiences. This time, artist Petrovsky-Shtern acts as a documentarian, focusing on the most important events happening now and those that Ukrainians, Jews, Poles have managed to endure under the sky of old Europe,” wrote Maria Klimchak, representative of the Ukrainian community in the United States, Program Director at Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America.

The author of the exhibition was present at its inauguration. The event also saw the attendance of Marta Farion, Vice President for North America at the UWC and Vice President of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA). She delivered a speech to the audience, highlighting the life and accomplishments of Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern. The opening was well-attended by a diverse group, including students, colleagues, friends, and the author’s family, along with members of Chicago’s Ukrainian, Jewish, and Belarusian communities. Additionally, Consul General of Ukraine Serhiy Koledov and Consul Yevgeniy Drobot were among the attendees.

“It is obvious that war affects everyone it touches, without exception. It is striking how the artist managed to convey the drama of today with individual details, to envelop a child with ineffable tenderness, to lift the viburnum with the strength of spirit, to load everything into artistic landmarks for those who will explore and write about the war crimes committed by the fascists in the 21st century,” wrote Maria Klimchak.

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern was born in Kyiv into a Jewish family of a philologist and a history teacher, Myron and Svitlana Petrovsky. Mr. Petrovsky-Shtern is an artist, literary critic, philologist, essayist, translator, Jewish historian, historian of modern, early modern, and Eastern Europe, and Professor of Jewish Studies and History at the Department of History of Northwestern University. He taught at various educational institutions, including the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukrainian Catholic University, Jerusalem University, and Harvard.

“But above all, I am a person who cares deeply about everything that happens in Ukraine. I have been directly involved in matters concerning Ukraine in military, educational, and cultural terms for the past 20 years. Equally important is that I position myself as a Ukrainian artist who has exhibited in Ukraine – in Lviv and Kyiv, in the United States – in New York and Chicago, having had 12 exhibitions, mostly at Ukrainian venues,” said Petrovsky-Shtern.

The exhibition is a joint cooperation project between the Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America and the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art and will run until April 7th.