The Beautiful Ukranian Folk Art of Maria Prymachenko

3 mins read

Update: A little silver lining coming out of Ukraine is someone has reported that the 25 works by Maria Prymachenko that we thought had been destroyed has been saved! According to @misterngo via @larysa_t the art was saved by residents of the village. Thank you @claudiaillustration for the heads up!

I’ve been glued to social media and TV this weekend, barely able to pull myself away from the heartbreaking scenes coming out of Ukraine. It’s so hard to write about design and art during times like this and it always seems so trivial in comparison to the pain and suffering that is transpiring.

I’m sure I wasn’t alone feeling helpless, lost and numb from all the doom-scrolling. And when speaking to a friend about all the happenings this weekend, she had pointed me in the direction of a Ukrainian chef, Olia Hercules, based in the UK, who was updating information in the Ukraine via contacts and family she has there on her Instagram account.

Sadly, this morning Olia posted that a historical museum was reportably blown up in Ivankiv (Kyiv) and 25 works by Ukranian folk artist, Maria Prymachenko was lost. As Olia said in her post, “This is a huge loss to us all”. (Above collage by me).

A Dove Has Spread Her Wings and Asks for Peace, 1982

An Ukranian village folk art painter, Maria Prymachenko (1909-1997), was involved with drawing, embroidery and painting ceramics, representative of naïve art. Her piece, “A Dove Has Spread Her Wings and Asks for Peace, 1982, remarkably speaks volumes in today’s unsettling climate.


As I struggled today on where to go forward with my writing here on the blog during a time like this, I thought  I’d share one of my coping mechanisms —leaning into the arts where I like to escape for a while during times like this.


So I thought I could share a few beautiful pieces from Maria Prymachenko’s work. Her compositions are so ornamental and rhythmic and almost meditative. Let’s take a look.

I Give My Little Stars to Children, 1983
Flax Blooms and a Cossack Goes to a Girl, 1982
Lilac, 1978
Our Army, Our Protectors, 1978
May I Give This Ukrainian Bread to All People in This Big Wide World, 1982
My Beloved Plows the Field, 1983

Jan Halvarson

Jan founded Poppytalk in 2005 while a student at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (now ECU) to catalogue inspiration from typography to interior design. Since then she’s collaborated with Target (creating a limited edition glamping collection), a wallpaper collection with Milton & King, as well has written as a contributor at Wired, Martha Stewart and Huffington Post.