Linocuts by Mykola Bondarenko
publisher "Historical & Educational Complex"
of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
South Bound Brook, USA
From early childhood Mykola Bondarenko loved to listen to the old people reminiscing about village
life in old times. Having learned about the Holodomor, he attempted to reproduce it graphically.
But he was not satisfied with the few sketches he made. The artist wished to tell about this
tragedy in his own, different way. He considered the fact that although entire families and entire
villages were annihilated by the Holodomor, some individuals managed to survive. What was it that
helped them defy death by hunger while next to them their relatives and friends perished? He
went around questioning the old-timers whp told him about their unbelievable "menu". Thus, he
found the answer to his question; he decided to portray not the emaciated peasants, but rather the "food" they were forced to ingest in order to survive
At first he tried to paint several more common weeds
which were consumed by the starving people, raw or
prepared. Then he turned to producing a series of
graphical depictions of other vegetation. His sketches
contain drawings from nature of cough-grass, clover,
hemp, sweet-flag, burdock, rush (cane), nettle, thistles,
lime tree and acacia buds, etc.
From them fifty engravings have been made. Almost each engraving depicts a window, the cross-like frame of which symbolizes the heavy cross carried by those condemned to death. Every windowpane symbolizes the hope to survive the Holodomor. On such a background are depicted weeds and some other plants consumed by the starving people during those horrible times. On the right windowpane there is a "recipe" for preparing this ersatz food.
Several of the engravings show the self-made tools, which helped the peasants to chop, grind, sieve, squeeze, and othewise prepare the weeds. To own such tools meant risking one's life.
Hooks and crooks of different length were used by the activists to look for buried grain or self-made tools in the garden and indoors, under the floor, by the stove. They poked and looked, and looked, and looked....
Soft cover, format 21x28cm
Price: US$ 12,00 plus postage
The funds received from selling this book will be used for publishing the album "Holodomor Through the Eyes of Ukrainian Artists"
TO ORDER: please contact ArtUkraine@voliacable.com