Ola Rondiak “At the Forefront”

2021; acrylic collage on canvas; 47.24 x 39.37 in (119.99 x 100.0 cm)

Description:

Ola Rondiak produced these contemporary female portraits during the Covid pandemic lockdown in Kyiv, Ukraine. For Ola, the very process of creating art is a liberating experience and she believes that we each have the responsibility to create our own freedom, even when we are faced with restrictions and confinement. In these portraits Ola incorporates historical elements from her personal history, Ukraine’s history. as well as reflections of her own experiences living in Kyiv for the past 25 years, including through two revolutions. Ola captures the emotions and characteristics of the resilient and determined Ukrainian women in her contemporary female portraits.

About artist: Ola Rondiak

Ola Rondiak’s previous work as a psychotherapist, commitment to motherhood, and rich cultural heritage, form the foundation for her creative expression. As a first generation American born to immigrant parents, she explores how historical knowledge of her roots and culture help to navigate her future. Ola’s art reflects her family history and her personal journey of tracing her ancestor’s footsteps impacting her identity today as an individual in the context of her responsibility as a member of society. Her work, as stated by Kathrine Page (former curator at The Delaware Contemporary Museum), “harvests a bold, new, deeply personal prototype emblematic of feminine tenacity stitched in

truth through the thread of her own story. Rondiak’s creativity cuts the cloth of a new absolute beauty with a redemptive quality that clearly understands the important healing role of art and the psyche for future generations.” Her art has been described as “contemporary work with a historical conscience.” Living in Ukraine for 25 years and through two revolutions, Ola discovered the stories of her grandmother’s faith, the secret embroideries she made while she was in a female labor prison camp, and her grandfather’s strength in surviving torture and near starvation during WWII.

Through the layering of fabrics, papers, mosaics, paints, ropes, and plaster, she explores the various facets of female identity, freedom, conformity, trans-generational pain, and healing. For Rondiak, the female image looms large in my work; the female portrait underpins the terrain for truth and dignity on my canvases and installations. She embraces femininity with all its mystery, strength, and dignity and offers a meditative quality through her work as a reminder of how we are all connected through our dreams and desires. One of the main motifs in her work is the vinok, a headdress which was worn by women as part of the national costume. After the war began in Ukraine in 2014, she created contemporary Motanka sculptures. Inspired by ancient Ukrainian rag dolls, each serve as a talisman for good health, fortune, and healing. Ola’s Neo-Pop sculptures, inspired by her children’s clothing, are covered with plaster of Paris, old signs, homework papers, and testify to better times, a notion of passing time, and morphing histories.

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