US Reporter


“ATLANTky” Exhibition by Liza Obukhovska Celebrating Ukrainian Feminist Pioneers Through Art

ATLANTky Exhibition by Liza Obukhovska_2
Photo Courtesy: Swipe AG/ Artworks by Liza Obukhovska

By: Patricia Rodriguez

“ATLANTky”: a solo exhibition by emerging Ukrainian artist Liza Obukhovska brought to Los Angeles by The Korshun Art Projects. This exhibition brings attention to prominent pioneers of Ukrainian literature who facilitated the birth of the feminist movement at the turn of the 20th century. Obukhovska attempts to interpret traditional narratives via large-format, unstretched, colorfully painted canvases resembling ancient scrolls. She uses ancient mythology, symbolism, and hints of art history to both idealize and contemporize themes and contributors who have been historically overshadowed. 

Obukhovska uses the figure of “Atlant,” also known as “Atlas,” as a metaphor to construct a conceptual framework to celebrate the seminal works of Ukrainian artists and writers Lesya Ukrainka, Olha Kobylianska, Nataliya Kobrynska, Sophia Yablonska, and Sonia Delaunay. “Atlants,” best known for bearing the weight of the sky on his shoulders, becomes Obukhovska’s muse, as she cleverly creates whimsical compositions that reimagine Atlas as female. Each painting is a different writer or artist, Yablonska, Ukrainka, etc, whose central protagonist illuminates a tale of historical progress and an optimistic commentary for a more inclusive future. According to Liza, we see the best of the world today through the eyes of her Atants and the strength, resilience, and courage they embody.

A seminal example is “I am my own goal.” This masterpiece is inspired by Sofia Yablonska, a Ukrainian writer, photographer, and solo world traveler, which had been absolutely forbidden at the end of the 19th century. She championed the freedom to live life beyond societal expectations. Within “I am my own goal,” an unconventional Atlant, with lips where a head should be, elevates two globes—symbolizing the power of speech and expression in shaping a Utopian world where equality is a foundational truth. In a desire for freedom, the center figure rises to the Atlant. It leaves behind her a group of diverse reclining female figures, art historically known as Odalisques, leading the path to their liberation. The inclusion of women of color reflects Yablonska’s international encounters from Morocco to Indochina and the author’s solidarity with feminist movements worldwide. 

Further, Obukhovska’s representation of the odalisque introduces commentary on the art’s historical portrayal of women by male artists, reimagining it from the feminist perspective. The vivid blue, reclining nude perhaps references Yves Klein’s “Anthropometry” series, which used the female body as a brush. By dressing the odalisque and Atlant in blue, Obukhovska captures the essence of their transformation into powerful, liberated women. “I am my own goal” marks a new freedom from the societal influences of our time, in the same manner as Yablonska did in her own time.

ATLANTky Exhibition by Liza Obukhovska

Photo Courtesy: Swipe AG/ Artworks by Liza Obukhovska

Further themes are portrayed in three further paintings in the show.” Mavky” draws from Lesya Ukrainka and her poem “The Forest” and portrays forest nymphs as metaphoric guardians of Ukrainian culture against historical assimilation. The “Trinity” is inspired by Olha Kobylianska’s controversial narrative of a same-sex love triangle and highlights themes of female independence and resistance against gender norms. “The Pearls” celebrates the birth of feminism in Ukraine, marked by the publication of “Pershyi Vinok” (“The First Wreath) by Nataliya Kobrynska in 1887, whose work led to the modern understanding of feminist liberation. 

The exhibition “ATLANTKY” captures the essence of these artists’ struggles and triumphs, reimagining traditional motifs like the Atlant to highlight women’s resilience and significant societal contributions. By merging historical and mythological references and symbolism with contemporary feminist discourse, Obukhovska celebrates the legacy of these pioneers, such as Lesya Ukrainka’s literary activism, Nataliya Kobrynska’s role in the birth of the feminist movement in Ukraine, Sofia Yablonska’s adventures and advocacy, and Sonia Delaunay’s innovative artistic practice. The Korshun Art Projects believes that Liza Obukhovska’s courage and bravery are achieved, and she truly stands on the shoulders of these pioneering women of Ukrainian culture.

Published by: Martin De Juan

Share this article


This article features branded content from a third party. Opinions in this article do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of US Reporter.