Mavki(plural) (sin. Mavka (мавка) aka Navka (навка) derived from slavic “nav’ ” (навь) —the embodiment of death/living dead) — evil aquatic creatures in ukrainian demonology. They’re commonly considered as subspecies of a rusalka, which leads to many similarities in the description of the characters. In contrast to the more variable image of rusalka mavki are quite definitely associated with a group of “unholy dead” — they come from girls who died before marriage, suicidals, the drowned, the damned, unbaptized or stillborn children. The traditional beliefs about mavki is also not that different from that of rusalki — they look like children and girls with long unbraided hair, naked of in plain shirts. One of the important differences, however, is their corporeal state and lack of a skin on the back, witch makes all of the insides visible. It is also noteworthy that they cast no reflection on the water. According to the lore, on occasion mavki would ask a stranger for a comb to braid their long hair, and, if lucky or inventive, a person could laugh it off and go on unharmed. Despite this mavki have always been considered very dangerous and hostile to humans. Living in a typical “rusalki’s” habitat (which is around aquatic areas and in the fields), mavki loved to tickle travelers to death, pull them to the bottom of the reservoir, harm people in every possible way. Another unusual divergence with classical concepts, which was clearly formed later with the development of the folk Christianity, is an opportunity within a specified period from the date of death with the help of prayers to “cleanse” the soul of mavka and thereby deprive of its status of a demon. After that period is over, mavka would live as a demonic creature till the end of times.
Two pieces from Boris Mikhailov’s series “Parliament,” on view at the Ukraine Pavilion in this year’s Venice Biennale.
“I tried to express the crisis through the Suprematist disintegration of the figurative by examining the broadcast of parliamentary debates and the interaction of verbal and visual manifestations that correspond with these images.”
Sonia Delaunay (1885 – 1979) was a Ukranian-born French artist and the first living female to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre. Her explorations in geometric abstraction coincide with modern design in a robust oeuvre that includes furniture, fabrics, rugs, clothing, cars, paintings, books and neon sculpture.
A duo of Ukrainian artists consisting of Anya Stasenko and Slava Leontyev creates tiny whimsical porcelain creatures that they paint with a wildly imaginative and creative array of painstakingly detailed and brilliantly colorful designs.