Females and Ovipositions

In this series of oil paintings I examine stereotypes of femininity in contemporary Ukraine. Well known images of Eve, The Virgin Mary, Helen of Troy, and of Kateryna, the heroine of the emblematic Taras Shevchenko’s poem, along with the glamorous “cover stars” serve as role models for the socialization of Ukrainian girls. Women should be nice, spiritual and beautiful. These repressive stereotypes don’t reflect the diversity of choices for women in contemporary society. Real women can be ugly, fat, bald and nevertheless – interesting and charming individuals. As a project, curated by Tamara Zlobina in 2007, “Females and Ovipositions” was exhibited in a few Ukrainian cities (Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk) and elicited different responses and opinions. The most remarkable of which occurred in the provincial town of Drogobych (Western Ukraine). My exhibition was prohibited by local authorities because of an outrage against public morality and Christianity. Drogobych moralists proved that women in Ukraine can be naked (and almost are on TV and in advertising) – but only if their nudity is aesthetically pleasing.

Grycja Erde is a Ukrainian artist and designer working in oil, pencil, and mixed media. Her work has been exhibited across Ukraine and has appeared in several publications, including Revolutionart, Sho Magazine, Glavred, and Afisha.