February 16 – March 14, 2018
Opening reception for the artist took place on Friday, February 16, 6:00–8:00 PM.
For the better part of two years from 2006–2008, Ukrainian photographer Anna Voitenko documented the unique life of willow work artisans in the village of Iza (Zakarpatska Oblast), Ukraine.
From bygone eras, the people inhabiting the Transcarpathian territories in and around the village of Iza have practiced the ancient art of applied and decorative basketry, passing down family craft technique from generation to generation. From withe that is locally grown, cultivated and boiled, every resident — female, male, old, and young — is actively involved in the demanding production of exquisitely designed wicker furniture, tableware, and ceremonial or ritual “Iza” baskets, for which the village is best known.
Ms. Voitenko aspired to create a portrait of a community, scanning the entire range of an intricate web of social, economic, cultural and spiritual forces that make up a dedicated single-craft town. She photographed Iza’s institutions and structures, its class and culture, its activities, aspects and mood. Above all, she photographed its people.
Voitenko’s deeply humanistic pictorial documentary restructures and expands the expressive possibilities of the photographic essay. It fosters an understanding, compassion, and hope among those who see it. The Basketweavers is personal and poetic, dense with intricate associations, metaphors, and visual puns.
Anna Voitenko graduated from the National Technical University of Ukraine / Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (Kyiv, Ukraine). Her photographs have been exhibited in Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and the U.S. Her visual essay about the willow work artisans of Iza was published as a photobook (Voitenko, Anna and Tsvyd, Vitaliy. Iza. Kyiv: Artbook, 2008). Ms. Voitenko lives and works in Kyiv.
This exhibition The Basketweavers of Iza: In Photographs by Anna Voitenko, curated by Olena Martyniuk, PhD. has been organized and is on loan from the Ukrainian Museum, New York.