The first major exhibition in the UK of paintings by young Ukrainian artists opened at the AUGB’s London gallery last week to an enthusiastic audience.

A large invited guest list got the first chance to see almost 80 paintings at a special private viewing.

It was an opportunity to see work by young Ukrainian artists, who rarely get the chance to exhibit in the West, particularly London.

Viewers were impressed with both the quality and the breadth of the work on show in a variety of styles from impressionism to abstract. 

Many reserved a favourite work, with one customer even turning up before the official opening to reserve two.

Those attending included officials and members of the AUGB from around London as well a sizeable number of general art-enthusiasts. 

Seven principal artists from Kharkiv, Lviv, Crimea and Kyiv are featured in the exhibition; Olena Melnikova, Ruslan Tarasov, Tatyana Fastenko, Maria Kryzhanovskaya, Yulia Petrova and Liubov Senchuk - all graduates of Ukraine’s prestigious art academies.

In August they won places to take part in a special Plein Air – ‘Venkov’ in the Czech Republic – which brought together the best young Ukrainian painters. 

A documentary film showing them working together and giving insights into their working styles and motivations was shown during the opening of the exhibition. 

The film was made by British television producer Philip Wright, who had organised the exhibition together with the AUGB, having become a passionate advocate of Ukrainian art after visiting the artists during the Plein Air.

Ukraine has a long tradition of producing gifted, young painters but few get the opportunity to win wider international recognition, particularly in the West. This exhibition is helping to change all that.  

Relative isolation also means Ukrainian art has developed its own independent style with a relaxed and optimistic expression which makes it refreshingly distinct for Western artistic tastes. 

The exhibition also features work by other young artists who have previously won places on Plein Airs: Anna Alpatieva, Nataliya Makarchuk, Andriy Naboka, Anatoli Pankovyk, Olexander Stupak, Olga Zaulychna and Alina Basetska. 

All are all graduates of the National Academy of Art and Architecture in Kyiv and bring a further variety of styles and subjects.

The exhibition at the AUGB Gallery at 49 Linden Gardens, Notting Hill runs until 2nd November. Opening times are Mon-Fri: 1100 to 1900 hrs and Sat-Sun 27-28 Oct: 1300-1700 hrs. 

The documentary film can be viewed online:

Ukrayinska Dumka


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