KYIV, Ukraine (ViaNews) – After the revolution of Dignity, that took place in Kyiv in the 2013 – 2014 period, Ukraine experienced many political, economic, and societal transformations. Besides the fact that not all changes are easily implemented, there are still many positive shifts. For instance, the cultural sector has started growing over the last 4 years. Due to such development, Ukraine gained international recognition, especially in the creative industries. Here is the digest of the most striking Ukrainian art openings that are worth to follow.

Music

In 2017, the International Song Contest, Eurovision, took place in Kyiv. However, the most impressing performance during the competition did not belong to the contestants. An invited guest, singer ONUKA (granddaughter in Ukrainian), was performing the mash-up of her songs “Interval Act” together with orchestra NAONI. International society immediately appreciated ONUKA’s art. A few days later she led the iTunes charts of electro music in Britain, Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden. ONUKA is special for the courageous mix of Ukrainian folk motives with the electro-music. The Experimental band is now giving concerts in Ukraine and other places in Europe.


Originated in 2013, indie-pop band Panivalkova became one of the most popular women-bands in Ukraine. Three girls, members of the group, call their art “sensible minimalism”. The usage of the national Ukrainian costumes, indie instruments, such as the piano, castanets, drums, percussion, ukulele, and modern texts leads to the remarkable and fresh image of the band. Female indie-pop trio themselves say that they sing “in the style of sensual minimalism.” In their music, girls use a large number of instruments: keys, castanets, harmonica, percussion, drums and the like. In Europe, the group already has its own audience. Summer 2017, during June-July, the musicians were in their first tour in Western Europe. In general, the girls visited 13 cities in Poland, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands.


Brunettes Shoot Blondes is another striking indie-group in Ukraine. Launched in 2010 in the small Ukrainian industrial city, the boy-band started to giving concerts in Kyiv, as well as European festivals in Poland and Germany. A few years later “Brunettes Shoot Blondes” presented the music video “Knock Knock” which brought them wide popularity. The movie was filmed by the members of the band in one shot. In one month, “Knock Knock” reached the first place on the Youtube chart “Emerging Artists From across the Globe”.

The foreign press called the band ‘sensational’, and all its reviews were positive. Publications about Brunettes Shoot Blondes appeared on Billboard, The Daily Mirror, USA Today, Mashable, Business Insider, Daily Mail and other media. In 2017, the boys-band have accomplished the European tour. They have also presented a new stylish music video, 4 weeks ago.


Film Production

For the last two years, Ukrainian national film production has been amassing big amounts of money, when compared to previous years ( e.g. in 2017 it was $19 230 769). Thus, more than ever, directors obtained the national financing and started filming movies.
For instance, they have filmed the “Stronghold” movie – a screen version of a fantasy novel about a teenager falling into the times of Kyivan Rus, overcoming obstacles and his fears at the same time. The plot of the “Stronghold” is a classic story about a “hitman”, when the main character moves from our world, either to a parallel dimension, or to another planet, or in another era. Authentic costumes, impressing landscapes, historical decorations, and Ukrainian context makes it a worth-to-watch fantasy drama movie.

Ukrainian dramatic-historical film “My Grandmother Fanny Kaplan” was named the best foreign film at the London Crystal Palace International Film Festival. Also in 2017, the film received two opportunities from the national film prize “Golden Dzyga” (the Ukranian Oscar) for the best artist and screenwriter.

At the heart of the film is a journalistic investigation that is conducted in contemporary time. In the Paris suburb of Sainte-Genevieve de Bois, in a Russian house, an old man who owns the diary of his grandmother – Fanny Kaplan, is living out his last days. From this diary, the Kyiv journalist Marina learns the piercing story of “blind” love of Fanny Kaplan to a man named Victor Garskiy. This film is a mix of the Ukrainian and Soviet cultures, the tough reality of the 20th century with a tense plot.

The artistic documentary film “Living Fire” directed by Ostap Kostyuk received the Special Jury Prize of the Canadian International Documentary Film Festival Hot Docs in 2015, as well as the award for the best documentary at the 18th International Film Festival for Children and Youth Olympia in Greece. In 2016, the band was rewarded for camera work at the Salem Film Fest in the United States, and in 2017 the band won two categories of the Ukrainian national film award Golden Dzyga: Best Operator and Best Composer. The plot of the film tells about the life of shepherds of the Ukrainian Carpathians and the fate of traditional craft in the context of the modern world. The film reveals spectacular scenes of the Ukrainian nature and a touching story of the Carpathians craftsmen who suffer to leave their metier.

Fashion

Svetlana Bevza is a successful Ukrainian designer whose clothes are sold not only in Ukraine but also in Europe, America, and Asia. BEVZA brand collections are always characterized by minimalism, elegance, architectural cut and elegance. In 2017 the brand made a real breakthrough: Bevza showed its collection of the SS 2018 season at the New York Fashion Week. The BEVZA brand is represented in three Opening Ceremony (New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo), in Italian Penelope and Calzature Dante, in Singapore’s The Monster Label, in Taiwan’s DeMorgan, Dubai Angel, and other world stores.

Bevza - Ukrainian Fashion. Photo by: Dima Honcharov.
Bevza – Ukrainian Fashion.
Photo by: Dima Honcharov.

Another striking Ukrainian designer, conquering the international fashion community is Anna Oktyabr with the brand “Anna October”. Anna is 27, and her brand is sold in 30 stores in Europe, the Arab East, and Asia, as well as in the huge online retailers. In 2017, she became a participant of the international project supporting the young talents Generation Now / Generation Next of the Mercedes-Benz brand, in the advertising campaign with the British singer M.I.A. starred in a cloak by Anna October.

Anna’s style is romantic and feminine, the designer searches her inspiration in the films, books, cities, and various style eras. Anna organizes the presentations of new collections in unexpected places such as coffee shops, Soviet buildings, or hotel rooms.

Presentations of the new collections in unexpected places (Coffee shops, Soviet buildings, or hotels). Photo by: Vogue Ukraine
Presentations of the new collections in unexpected places (Coffee shops, Soviet buildings, or hotels). Photo by: Vogue Ukraine

In the fashionable designer sphere, Anton Belinsky stands out as the self-titled leader of the new Ukrainian fashion. The ironic slogan of his 2015 collection “Poor but cool” became the tagline of the young generation who does not spend a fortune to be stylish.

He debuted with a collection in 2011 and immediately became one of the most significant people in the Ukrainian fashion. “The domestic market is incredibly small,” Belinsky states. Today over 90% of his clothes are sold outside the country. Clothes from Anton Belinskiy can be seen in Brussels Yawn, New York’s Datalook, Hong Kong’s Harvey Nichols and Kniq, Tokyo’s DressingForFun, the Kuwaiti NASS boutique and Shanghai’s MissWoo. Nevertheless, the premier shows of designer collections took place in Ukraine: over the last eight seasons, he regularly participated in the Mercedes-Benz Kyiv Fashion Days.

The designer likes to combine contrasting textures and is not indifferent to geometric architectural cut. For successful experiments, Ukrainian critics call Belinsky one of the most promising young designers. He was also nominated for the prestigious international fashion competition LVMH Prize. A few years ago Forbes magazine put him on the “Top 30 under 30” list. As many young Eastern-European designers, Anton Belinsky uses the Soviet legacy, as well as the aesthetics of the 90s.