The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine, 1932-1933 (Holodomor)
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Famine Folk Art PaintingsBy Ivan Novobranets'


Oh, in the year of thirty-three
When the sun came up,
The cuckoo began to call
Just underneath the window.
Oh, the falcons were flying
And right to Ukraine,
That was not for good
That was a bad omen.

The black crows have flown up
That brought people's suffering,
That brought people's suffering
They went on pecking corpses.
The doves were flying
They were calling sadly,
Because their pigeons
Were being killed by the falcons.

Oh, gray doves
Flying around the village,
That is their little children
That were dying of hunger.
There were many graves
Dug in the churchyard
They put in each grave
Five human souls.

Oh, mother Ukraine
Where your brave warriors are,
As there is not a soul alive
That is left in Ukraine.
The falcons were flying,
They were flying high,
It was a bad fame
That they were earning.

Painting and Poem by Ivan Novobranets
Artist, Poltava, Ukraine
Oil on Canvus, 1988, 81 cm by 100 cm
(Click on image to enlarge painting)


Oh, how those crows have come,
And hid the sun
Under the black wings,
Oh, they hid the sun,
And the dark night began,
It was in the year of thirty three
That those birds were flying.

Oh, every hut
Had grown so sad,
The whole family of ours
Was dying of hunger,
Oh, mother alone
Had left,
To resurrect her beloved land
From the pack of crows

Painting and Poem by Ivan Novobranets
Artist, Poltava, Ukraine
Oil on Canvus, 1993, 70 cm by 110 cm
(Click on image to enlarge painting)

Ivan Novobranets'
Folk Art Painter
Poltava Oblast

Shows Ivan Novobranets holding his painting showing his hometown

This painting shows Ivan's hometown of Berezotocha, Ukraine. The cemetery is shown where famine victims were buried. Many times there were 12 bodies buried in one grave with no coffins.

 Ivan's older brother died during the famine from dysentery when he was seven years old. This painting is in honor of his older brother. His older brother was also named Ivan.

Shows Ivan playing a large flute

Shows Ivan playing a small flute


Shows Ivan with a replica of a very old bandura he is presently making.
His wood carving table and tools are shown

Ivan is a trained musician and plays many instruments. He is also a highly skilled painter and woodcarver. He is presently carving a new bandura based on a design which is over 200 years old. The bandura he is making is smaller than the version most seen today.

Ivan's wife's grandfather's family was thrown out of their home and family farm by the Soviet's in the 1930's and the grandfather was killed. Ivan paints on several nationalistic topics.

"Ivan Novobranets, Folk Artist"
Based On An Article by Lina Maiba
"Folk Art" Magazine No 2, 1997
The National Union Of Folk Art Masters
Kyiv, Ukraine, Pages 43 - 45.
(Lina Maiba is an artist who paints on glass and also
does stained glass windows. She also writes articles for
"Folk Art" magazine.)



"Ivan Novobranets was born an artist. From early childhood he painted everything in his parent's hut. As a schoolboy, he refused to write compositions. He only wanted to draw pictures, for which he received low marks. He was a poor pupil at school. He was passionately interested only in painting and history."

"Once, while still a schoolboy, he read in a history book that somewhere in the area where he lived there had been a Scythian capital named Helon in ancient times. He began is own archeological diggings and later become so fond of this that he turned in a real amateur archeologist. He was not searching for gold or silver, he was searching for pieces of history."

Folk-Art Painting By Ivan

"During his childhood Ivan was also fond of Ukrainian songs. He learned to play the accordion from his music teacher I. I. Padilka. But his great passion was for painting. He worked as a teacher of drawing, singing and physical education at schools to earn money to cover his paintings expenses."

Folk Art Painting By Ivan Novobranets

"Professional artists from the Regional Center noticed the talented young man and recommended Ivan Novobranets for study at the Moscow Folk Art University named after Krupska. He graduated from the correspondence division and began to exhibit his works alongside the works of professional artists. But he soon realized that it was only indulgence on their part. In due time Ivan found out that his university education had led him to lose his individuality so he went back to his native village."

"Time passed and through being fed by the spirit of the native land, Ivan Novobranets was able to present some of his new works. One of the best is the painting, "Hey, Beer and Honey Are Not Tasty Anymore." The painting reflects one of the pages from Chumaky history. It was painted in 1975. He was "given" the label as a nationalist. Fortunately he managed to avoid trouble."

Ivan Novobranets' folk paintings are original and do not resemble other paintings of the same kind. He paints with oil and prefers clean, not mixed, colors. There are two topics that prevail in his works: The history of Ukraine and folk songs. In some of his paintings, the ones that illustrate specific historical events, there are inscriptions written by Ivan in block letters. For instance, "Kochubey's Denunciation", " A Letter to Motria", "Ivan Mazepa". Many times he depicts archeological relics he has found. The name for a number of his works are a line or lines from Ukrainian folk songs, such as "Oh, Wild Geese Fly", "Oh, Under The Cherry Tree", "You Are The Girl, Proud and Fat". There are painting dedicated to present events that stand out in our minds such as "Thought About Chernobyl" and "Requiem".

"Ivan Novobranets' works have been exhibited in Russia, Poland, and Bulgaria. His personal exhibitions have taken place in Lubny, Poltava and Kyiv."

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