Dozens of Ukrainians in Luxembourg and supporters of Ukraine have painted what is believed to be the world's largest mural in the Samchykivskyi style.
The project took about two weeks to complete, despite facing challenges from rain and stormy weather. The grand opening of the mural (open to the public) will take place on Tuesday 7 November 2023 at 15:00, at 28 Rue Giselbert in Luxembourg-Merl (near Place de France).
Ukrainians, fellow residents of Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and Croatia joined in the creation of this mural. Millions of hand movements covered a 70 m2 wall on a private house with a painting that now serves as a special "home guardian". The mural features elements such as the tree of life and animals, including birds, representing prosperity and growth. Some parts of the mural are painted in the colours of the Ukrainian flag, symbolising the Ukrainian people's revival, victory, strength and resilience, according to those behind the project.
The project was initiated by the owner of the building, Barbara Tosi, in continued support of Ukrainians. Two Ukrainian women, including Tetiana Pashkevych, lead of the project, have been living in her house since the beginning of Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine.
"About a year ago, I visited my friends in Luxembourg. Barbara liked a handbag with a Samchykivskyi-style painting that I bought in the village of Samchyky in the city of Khmelnytskyi. I explained the significance of the paintings, the village where almost all buildings, schools, public transport stops and cafes are painted in the Samchykivskyi style, and showed her photos. That's how the idea of creating a mural on her wall was born," Tetiana explained.
The mural was painted by Olha Mashevska, a Ukraine-based master of Ukrainian folk art, an artist, teacher, illustrator and author. She actively promotes Samchykivskyi painting not only in Ukraine but also beyond its borders. Her works are kept in national museums and private collections in Ukraine, Poland, the United States, Italy and Iran. Her daughter, Karina Mashevska, who is a tattoo artist, is accompanying her.
"We aim to spread awareness of the remarkable talents of Ukrainians and showcase the distinctive beauty of the Samchykivskyi style. This mural stands as a symbol of solidarity within the Ukrainian community and the appreciation of Luxembourg," said Olha.
Samchykivkyi art features intricate and colourful patterns, often inspired by nature, folklore and Ukrainian cultural motifs, explained those involved in the project. This art form is known for its geometric and floral designs, and it displays a combination of embroidery and painting techniques. Samchykivkyi art plays a significant role in Ukrainian folk art and is regarded for its cultural and artistic value. There are just a few artists in the world who know the precise peculiarities of Samchykivkyi art, as it has been passed down through the generations.
Various interpretations of floral motifs are now the main theme of the painting which has been created in Luxembourg. Each ornament has its own name, with bluebells, sunflowers, roses, poppies, berries, branches and leaves most commonly found in the works of the artists. The colour palette of Samchykivskyi painting has traditional sacral significance rooted in Slavic beliefs and ethnic culture. Red, blue, green and yellow are the main colours forming the basis of this painting. Black, brown, pink and purple pigments are also used.