‘Music of Colour’: Dr Claire O’Mahony Contributes to Tapestry Exhibition in Kyiv

Towards the end of 2023, Dr Claire O’Mahony, Associate Professor in History of Art and Design, collaborated with a set of colleagues in Ukraine on the tapestry exhibition, Music of Colour. The exhibition took place at Portal 11 Gallery in Kyiv, and was led by artist Hanna Zabudska, who created a series of tapestries based on the paintings of renowned Ukrainian artist Ivan Turetskyy.

Claire was first approached to participate in the project by Maria Sivachenko, who completed an online weekly class with the Department, before working at Portal 11 Gallery. In addition to the exhibition, the gallery has produced an art album in which Claire authored a scientific article to accompany the unique collection of tapestries, the first example of the synthesis of cubofuturistic painting and weaving interpretation.

In a press release for the exhibition, the artists involved commented on the process of bringing their ideas to fruition: ‘Our goal is to showcase tapestry as a manifestation of high art and explore new possibilities of cubo-futurist painting. The ambitious plan involved a symbiosis of contemporary painting and traditional weaving techniques. The concept requires combining the techniques of the two artists into a new form of visual language. Each artwork took a significant amount of time to create, from 3 months to several years.’

On her involvement in the project, Claire commented, ‘This collaboration with a set of colleagues in Ukraine began in autumn 2022 and amidst the invasion, bombardment, and hardships, it took a while to come to fruition. I contributed an essay to the catalogue and the tapestries on the walls of Portal 11 Gallery looked beautiful. These Ukrainian artists continue to create in the middle of devastation and tragedy, a resilient hopefulness which is humbling and inspiring in equal measure. Let us all hope for better days soon.’

The exhibition ran from 4 November to 17 December 2023, and the artists have permitted photographs of the exhibition to be reproduced here, to support and celebrate how the artists involved in the project stoically ensured that tapestry and painting continue to flourish amidst the turmoil.

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Published 21 February 2024