Yesterday I received a newsletter that introduced me to the work of Ivanka Demchuk, a Ukrainian artist who lives in Lviv, the largest city in Western Ukraine. Ivanka is an icon painter, and she chose to build her career in Lviv because of its rich cultural heritage based on Western and Eastern Christian traditions. Although Lviv is currently under attack, she reports that life is still relatively stable.
Despite the ongoing war, Ivanka is still going about her daily business, painting icons. While tradition matters to her, she also sees value in challenging it. To minimize any gap between the viewer and her icons, she sometimes chooses to place her characters in modern exteriors or to include aspects of modernity. She also occasionally modifies traditional characters by depicting them in non-traditional ways. Painting wingless angels is an example of this. As an artist, she "hopes to create connection, cultivate an ethos of belonging, and stir a sense of spiritual solidarity."
(The above was adapted from "A Letter from Lviv" in Jeff Chu's weekly email newsletter.)
In the closing, the newsletter included the following: If you would like to support Ivanka Demchuck and her family, her Etsy shop is still operating. However, you'll need to be patient because they aren't able to ship as quickly as usual, given the conditions on the ground.
Well, I visited Ivanka's Etsy shop and was captivated by her artistry and creativity. (And, yes, I did end up placing an order.) I recommend a visit as well, just to see her amazing images. (And, of course, you also have the option of helping support Ivanka and her family during very difficult times.)
Colours by Stella Jang
A friend used this song in one of her Instagram stories, and I loved it so much that I tracked it down. It's called "Colours" and was written by Stella Jang, a South Korean singer-songwriter. Apparently, others love it too! This YouTube video has over 7 million views! Enjoy!
Do you need more poetry in your life. Yes? Then Poem-a-Day is for you. You can visit the website to read a new poem every day or you can sign up to have one delivered to your inbox daily. Not all of the poems work for me but still I'm enjoying reading more poetry and the "About this Poem" section offers more insight into the writing process. Enjoy!
Today the Guardian published an excerpt from Hannah Gadsby's soon-to-be-published book Ten Steps to Nanette. She was only recently diagnosed with autism, and her thoughts on this are highly worth a read – if not just for the quote, "Please stop expecting people with autism to be exceptional. It is a basic human right to have average abilities."
And if you haven't seen Hannah Gadsby's comedy routine, I highly recommend it, although it isn't for everyone. In a separate article in the Guardian, it was described as follows:
"Standup comedy relies, of course, on creating tension and release. In Nanette, Gadsby exposes and then destroys that formula. She reveals experiences of homophobic and sexual violence, which escalate throughout the set until finally, she is delivering them from a precipice of rage. “This tension is yours,” she tells the stunned Sydney Opera House audience. “I am not helping you with it anymore. You need to learn what this feels like.”
This week I enjoyed a trip to Fukuda Art Museum in Arashiyama, Kyoto. The latest exhibition is of tigers, cats, and various animals. (2022 is the year of the tiger.) To promote this exhibition, Ayako Takemoto, the Deputy Director of the museum, visited the Kyoto Zoo to ask the zookeepers their impressions of some of the paintings of tigers that are now on display and to talk about the differences between cats and tigers. Enjoy! (Unfortunately, it's only available in Japanese.)
I'm stepping back from social media so this is where I share links that I think others might enjoy. They will rarely be related to photography though!