Ayla Dmyterko Vyshyvani Kazky, Embroidered Stories
Reflecting on the intersectional dialogue generated by the complex history of Treaty 4 territory in Saskatchewan and her own relationship to it, Glasgow-based Ukrainian-Canadian artist Ayla Dmyterko traces creases and folds of cultural memory to reveal its resonance through a series of lens-based archival interventions.
From one bread basket to another, over 100 years ago the first wave of Ukrainians arrived in Saskatchewan, on Treaty 4 territory—the traditional lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda peoples, and homeland of the Métis/Michif Nation. The Ukrainians’ agrarian knowledge and labour was obliquely utilized in the Crown’s colonial project as they were simultaneously dispossessed of their lands back home via the Soviet collectivization project. Dmyterko’s ancestors were one of many caught between these imperialist projects. Tragically, the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces signals that the wave of east-to-west migration may very well continue into this century.
Reactivating and re-embodying Ukrainian cultural memory, Dmyterko’s photographic and moving-image works respond to epistemological injustices to locate sites of transformation. Incorporating archival images of her family upon their migration in the early twentieth century, folkloric costumes for stage, and her own muscle memory, the artist oscillates between reverence and regeneration. Through her layered physical and digital interventions, Dmyterko examines spectres of eternal recurrence to embody ways that artists and images become mediums.
While this exhibition was organized long in advance of Russia’s unjustified war in Ukraine, both the gallery and artist would like to affirm their solidarity with the people of Ukraine in their fight to reassert their sovereignty and right to exist as a peaceful nation.
Presented by Zalucky Contemporary. Funded in part by The Shevchenko Foundation, Jean Karakola & Linda Ladin Visual Arts Fund
Ayla Dmyterko (b.1988, she/her) is a Ukrainian-Canadian artist based in Glasgow, Scotland. Upon completing her MFA at the Glasgow School of Art, she was awarded the Graduate Fellowship with Glasgow Sculpture Studios. She further holds a BFA from Concordia University, Montréal and a BEd in Visual Art & Dance from the University of Regina. She has exhibited her work internationally through Lunchtime Gallery, Glasgow; CCA Glasgow; KAJET, Bucharest; Art Gallery of Regina; Glue Factory, Glasgow; Tontine Space, Glasgow; Regina Performing Arts Center; Projet Pangée, Montréal; Gallery Aux Vues, Montréal; Hague Gallery, Regina and forthcoming with VITRINE Gallery, London & Basel.