The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine, 1932-1933 (Holodomor)
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Life Has Become Better, Life Has Become Funnier
Painting by Nestor Kyzenko, late 1990's; 100x150
Oil on canvas
 

 

Nestor Kyzenko was born in 1926 in a tiny hamlet called Bizh in northern Ukraine some 300 km from the capital Kyiv. His formal education consisted of four years of village school.

His artistic talent began to reveal itself at a very early age. He painted with a finger on the ground, with charcoal on walls and fences. Later he made brushes himself, got some paints and painted on whatever surface was available--pieces of cardboard, sackcloth.

While serving in the army in the Caucasus Mountains he was given the opportunity to attend the workshop of a renown painter from Leningrad, Vailij Chukhaev, who, in exile, was teaching at the Art Academy in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Self Portrait

In 1956 Nestor Kyzenko returned to his native Ukraine, took a job at a local school as an art teacher. Today, in his late 70's, Kyzenko continues to paint. His style combines traditional approaches to landscape painting and principal features of folk painting.

He is considered to be one of the foremost landscape artists in Ukraine. His paintings can be found in various museums in Ukraine and in many private collections in other countries.

A Freezing Sunset
(Click on images to enlarge them)

Kyzenko, as a young boy, personally experienced the terrible famine in 1932-1933 caused by the Soviet authorities. He painted a small painting about the famine in the late 1980's or early 1990's. He then painted the much larger famine painting, "Life Has Become Better, Life Has Become Funnier," in the late 1990's based his earlier sketches and painting which were based on his childhood memories and the experiences of his family.

The famine painting by Nestor Kyzenko "Life Has Become Better, Life Has Become Funnier" is held in a private collection.

A Gypsy Camp

The Moon High Up In The Sky

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