Kyrylo Orel

Visual artist

ResidencyAura Mista

Hosting periodAutumn-Winter 2023


Kyrylo Orel is a Ukrainian artist who primarily works with figures. Born in Kharkiv, Kyrylo studied at the Kharkiv Academy of Design and Arts and at O.M. Beketov National University. In his drawings, Orel examines the specifics of human nature and its body by hyperbolising or simplifying them to explore various states of the mind.

Story of experience of risk, relocation and/or exile

Artist’s account: I am from the city of Kharkiv, and the story of my migration is rather simple — when your home is under constant risk of rocket bombing and occupation, you’ll probably see the need to run away. I left the city in the second month of the full-scale invasion with none of my belongings except documents and a small sketchbook in which all of my art had been produced for a long time. I travelled to Dnipro, then Lviv, then back to Kharkiv. That continued for a long time. I had to move constantly because I had to stay at a friend’s place and then a friend’s friend’s place, etc.

In the end, I was even able to return home — even though the risk of death was always there. At some point, you just accept the fact that this feeling will follow you everywhere. For a long time, because of my inability to create a space for life and work, I was unable to create art. As I mentioned earlier, all of my work was within the boundaries of a small journal. Even now it is quite difficult. There’s so much work that has to be done to stay afloat during the hardships, so many things to take care of, that your passions have to come second. That’s why I was very happy to partake in the Artists at Risk residency. To focus on my work and spend all of my time on it is something that I’m very thankful for.

Projects created during the residency period

During the residency, the artist created a series of figure drawings depicting mental imprisonment. The project consists of three graphite works which are 80×80 cm each.


This programme is organized by Perpetuum Mobile (PM) as part of the Artists at Risk (AR)-Network in partnership with UNESCO and with the support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Teiger Foundation.