Maria Prymachenko: A Dove Has Spread Her Wings and Asks for Peace

“Dumplings on the Shelf” by Maria Prymachenko (1979)

I first discovered Maria Prymachenko’s art while searching online for dumpling paintings about ten years ago.

Her “Dumplings on the Shelf” immediately caught my eye with its bright yellow background, orange crockery, and – what is that – a woman lying on top of the stove?! 

Not something you’d see every day. Of course I had to learn more about one of Ukraine’s most celebrated folk artists. I instantly fell in love with her vibrant colors, precise symmetrical patterns, pretty floral motifs, fantastical beasts, joyous scenes of country life, imaginative details, and of course, the intriguing stories in some of her pictures.

Prymachenko (1908-1997) was born to a peasant family in the village of Bolotnya (about 19 miles from Chernobyl), where she would spend most of her life. Her family taught her a variety of traditional Ukrainian crafts, including embroidery and pysanky (decorating Easter eggs). She also liked to draw and paint.

Once, as a young girl, I was tending a gaggle of geese. When I got with them to a sandy beach, on the bank of the river, after crossing a field dotted with wild flowers, I began to draw real and imaginary flowers with a stick on the sand… Later, I decided to paint the walls of my house using natural pigments. After that I’ve never stopped drawing and painting.

Continue reading