Natalia Tulina-Marunyak, Historian of art
"WE live in a world of meaningful, retransmitted information, drowning in an overabundance of consumer luxuries and vivid effects - Hollywood epics, national heroes, romanticization and decommunization of heritage. This world of modern information floods fascinates us with unexpected combinations and passionate remixes.
We meet deep, recognized geniuses of Ukrainian classical culture every day in the graphic print of our banknotes, we have long been accustomed to paying with "Lesya", "Hrushevsky" or "Shevchenko". The idea of their work, often left in the background - the powerful strengh of the Kobzar, the lyrical thirst of Lesya Ukrainka and the phenomenal futuristic nature of Ivan Franko - reaches us with weak echoes of the school curriculum. The downed stamps - "The Prophet", "The Stonecutters", "The Only Man in Ukrainian Literature" - lose touch with historical reality, and most importantly, with the culture of everyday life.
This year we are again in the aura of a great anniversary - 150 years since the birth of Lesya Ukrainka, and for some reason, to update or rethink the heritage, we always need an anniversary! Well, for more than 50 years, the "USSR" carries and will carry its burden in the mentality, consciousness and emotional components of cultural initiatives. Yet the free minds of modern Ukraine think, create and interpret.
Sashko Balabai's project "Lesya Ukrainka. Forest Song. Reloading of dreams" is a purposeful, suggestive, devoid of academic "shackles", comprehension of the majestic heritage - Song-extravaganza, a unique genre, the work of Lesya Ukrainka" Forest Song ". The author delves into the figurative construction of the work with his subtle, pictorial method - and in fact, "bubble background creation". We are witnessing the birth of a new form of painting expression - colored bubbles in seven or more layers create an environment where angular, strictly horizontal, often pop art, images from the "Forest Song", dressed in clothes and masks of our time, become acutely relevant and unprecedented interpretations.
Take a look - at several portraits of the poetess herself - Lesya Ukrainka - on one - from her face grows a hand that flows in the space of bubbles, and the other end squeezes the throat - prompts us to think about the emotions-challenges that are written in the Forest Song as an epic formation of the "Free Spirit".
The following portrait presents Lesya Ukrainka's "Drawings" - a translation of the school metaphor, the framing of the giant system of national education and individual factors of perception. Can the modern mind and imagination capture this incredible dream, the train of deep meanings embedded in the plot and fierce drama of the "Forest Song"?
Solving painting with technical filling of modular, five-dimensionally active elements is not the first attempt in the history of art, however, - says the author's clear position - to find appropriate for their own creative practice language, expression and view of what worries and what you want to discuss using, in the figurative elements of the strongest weapon - a sense of self-worth and humor."