painted reproductions of authentic Ukrainian Embroidery designs


I am part Ukrainian, so this is my way of authentically and ethically connecting with an ancient culture. Though I am third generation, I still grew up surrounded by Ukrainian culture.

I am interested in these embroidery patterns and designs for many reasons. It is ancient, it is a form of meditative practice, a prayer, a sacred art. It also contains hidden codes and that is the part that I find particularly intriguing - especially since so far I have found information to be scarce (not knowing the Ukrainian language). The meanings behind the symbols have a reputation for being mysterious.

The design is also made up of squares - pixels really. These are *absolutely perfect* rendition of the designs I copy - they are *exactly* the same. This is an example of an absolute. The designs are also easily represented as numbers too since they are bitmaps.

I recognize that traditionally, this is women's art form - perhaps a bit like circle dancing. There is a rhythm to it - a magical rhythm. It is a sacred practice and a means of hidden communication as well. Communication with an ancient past. I wish to facilitate this communication through these designs. Clearly, the time is ripe to nourish Ukrainian cultural identity. I also recognize that being a man doing this needs to be acknowledged. I plan to step aside when this project is done.

At any rate, the effect of these rhythms are real and as I was painting it, I felt that there was some work being done under the surface - that the codes in the design were serving their intended purpose, bringing me closer to the rhythms of nature. It was deeply satisfying to complete the designs - relaxing and meditative.

This brings me to one of the aims of this project - the creation of each design, what colours were filled in and in what order, will be recorded as an animations that may be replayed to facilitate analysis and transformation of the material. These animations will serve to reveal and study the creative content of the designs. I will also be sonifying the animations using material gathered from the Ukrainian Art Song Project. See my website for more detail and these animations.

I will also be developing a thirteenth painting which will be an amalgamation of the twelve chosen designs based on a computational system that is developed according to the creative process behind the paintings and the meanings that they contain and secretly communicate.

A portion of the proceeds from the sales of these works will be donated to the effort in Ukraine.