Polina Rayko house museum flooded in occupied Oleshky, artworks destroyed

16 June, 06:57 PM
Destruction in the house-museum of Polina Raiko due to flooding (Photo:@Семен Храмцов/Facebook)

Destruction in the house-museum of Polina Raiko due to flooding (Photo:@Семен Храмцов/Facebook)

The house museum of Ukrainian artist Polina Rayko was heavily damaged, and a significant part of her art pieces are lost to flooding caused by Kakhovka dam destraction by Russians, museum caretakers say.

A representative of the foundation that preserved Rayko’s works, Simon Khramtsov, posted photos and a video of the damage on Facebook on June 16.

The water has almost subsided and the terrible aftermath of the flooding has become obvious. Only 30% to 40% of the artist’s unique frescoes have survived – mostly those that are closer to the ceiling and weren't reached by water.

Video of day

The inner walls of the house have also partially collapsed.

"It's a sorrow,” Khramtsov wrote. “I received a video from Polina Reyko's house... Most of the inner walls collapsed and it (house) turned into an awful open space... Only about 30-40% of frescoes (including ceiling) have survived, but we completely lost the "wall with sisters."

“It seems we lost ‘Husband-fisher,’ ... everything that was lower... Half of ‘Cats,’ and ‘Road to heaven,’” Khramtsov wrote, referring to some of the mural works.

“... I can't say how long (the house) will remain (standing) ... The caretakers want to ‘dry the house,’ but I think they need some instructions from experts about what they should do next. But what could they do in their current conditions?"

A humanitarian disaster in Russian-occupied Oleshky is still ongoing, Khramtsov noted, and added a list of necessities the locals are lacking. Aid can be also provided in the form of money via a specified bank account.

After the Kakhovka dam was destroyed by invading Russian troops, Rayko’s house was completely flooded and the women caretekers fled to a safer place, Khramtsov reported earlier.

Rayko was a Ukrainian “naїve-style” painter who started painted at the age of 69 without any previous background. Her house became her canvases as eventually she fully covered it with pictures that matched other Ukrainian famous folk artists such as Kateryna Bilokur and Maria Prymachenko. It took her only six years to turn her property into a national treasure.

The Polina Rayko Kherson Regional Charitable Foundation was founded after the artist’s death in 2014. It cared for the house, which became a local tourist attraction, and organized frequent festivals, artist residences, and film-making.

Viacheslav Mashnytskyi, a Ukrainian artist and the chief curator of the project, went missing after the area came under Russian occupation.

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