In the ‘Nezlamna’ neo-fresco, a young woman, Tetiana Drobotia, is seen adorned in a costume specially created by Ukrainian designers for this occasion. The costume incorporates abundant elements of traditional Ukrainian textiles, particularly Vyshyvanka. According to Ukrainian designer Georgiy Lvov, who conceptualized the fabric, the goal was to create an interpretation of the national costume that reflects Ukraine’s contemporary identity as a young, beautiful, and courageous country.
In their quest for authentic material, the costume creators searched through museums and private collections, but encountered the consequences of war – all exhibitions and museum collections were inaccessible due to the evacuation of residents from Zaporizhzhia to safer regions.
Therefore, they decided to create a free interpretation of the new costume, based on the collections of the Zaporizhzhia Regional Museum of Regional History and other ethnographic materials.
The costume designed by Georgiy Lvov was embroidered with Vyshyvanka patterns by Olena Pacheva and Yulia Artemieva. The costume was complemented by Liudmila Kokar, who created multi-strand necklaces with coral, garnet, and pearls, following the Ukrainian tradition where women adorned themselves with necklaces as symbols of prosperity. The costume includes silk scarves and a wreath of real flowers created by Natalia Boiko, traditionally considered protection against evil spirits, adding ethnographic details to the wall painting.
Vyshyvanka, a crucial part of Ukrainian cultural identity, gained significant symbolic meaning during the 2014 Maidan uprising and has become even more prominent during the Russian-led war against Ukraine. In wartime, intangible cultural heritage brings communities together, but it is as fragile and vulnerable as tangible cultural assets. The preservation of intangible heritage depends on communities not being scattered and on a dignified and secure environment in which to nurture it.
Vyshyvanka, with its rich tradition of embroidery, is undoubtedly a significant living intangible cultural heritage of Ukraine, passed on from generation to generation and constantly recreated and reinterpreted by Ukrainians themselves. It provides a sense of identity and continuity, promoting respect for cultural diversity and human rights.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2003). On this occasion, initiatives are being held worldwide to promote, support, and create living traditional culture and intangible cultural heritage.
The artistic research was conducted by the international creative group Lina Šlipavičiūtė (Lithuania), Tetiana Drobotia (Ukraine), Elena Tita (Ukraine), Aistė Ulubey (Lithuania).
Organizations involved: Art Laboratory ‘Kiaurai sienas’, Art Agency ‘Artscape’