Born in 1995 in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Olha Chykalo initially pursued her artistic education at the Donetsk Art School. However, following the occupation of the city by Russian troops in 2014, she was compelled to relocate to Kyiv. While there, she enrolled in the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture, earning a bachelor’s degree in 2019. In 2020, she embarked on a collaboration with the online artistic platform Spilne Art, establishing a studio to sustain her artistic endeavors.
The full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 necessitated another temporary departure from her homeland, but Chykalo ultimately returned to Kyiv, where she feels a direct connection to Ukrainian modern art. Her works which reflect her focus on shape and its deformation, particularly the female body, adorn numerous private collections across Ukraine and Europe. Drawing inspiration from her own emotions and experiences, Chykalo’s artistic practice is a testament to her resilience and commitment to her craft.
Story of experience of risk, relocation and/or exile
Artist’s account: For me, the war and forced displacement began back in 2014 and has been going on for ten long years, I was born in Donetsk and lived in the basement of my house for three months during the occupation. Kyiv became my second home. After the start of the full-scale invasion, I unfortunately lost the opportunity to continue my artistic activity there, and my financial situation became quite difficult. The Artists at Risk residency enabled me to continue a project that was important to me in the city where I wanted to continue it. Currently, I need to be in Ukraine as I feel a global need to be right here and right now.
Projects created during the residency period
During the residency, Chykalo worked on a series of graphic and painting works and a comic book. These were showcased at the exhibition “Personal mourning” at Ostriv Platform.
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.