THE ARTIST: Andrii Chernovil with the painting that he did in Nepal Photos by Umer Nangiana EXPENSIVE: Right: This is the most expensive painting at the exhibition priced at QR100,000.
By Umer Nangiana
A deadly Himalayan earthquake of magnitude 7.8 struck the mountain state of Nepal on April 25, killing more than 7,000 people and injuring more than twice as many. Rescuers are still trying to find survivors from under the rubble of collapsed buildings while scores of people are feared missing.
With houses destroyed, thousands have been rendered shelter less and the world humanitarian organisations estimate more than a million people are in immediate need of food, medical help and financial assistance.
In multiple campaigns, people from across the world are contributing with cash, kind and services to the international aid effort. Yet, there are many who want to make a meaningful contribution on a personal level.
Andrii Chernovil, the 37-year-old Ukrainian artist based in Doha, is one of them. He has come forward to help Nepal and its people, whom he got to know from very close, with what he knows best, art. He has put up his best work, four of his most expensive paintings, for sale at his latest exhibition.
Chernovil has decided to donate every single penny gathered from the sale of these paintings to Nepal.
“This is one of my best works. And when it is sold, all the proceeds will go to help the people of Nepal,” Chernovil points to a large size vertical painting installed in one corner of building 18 in Katara Cultural Village where his latest exhibition “National Heritage” has recently started.
The painting reflects a mirage — your first look would show you a form resembling a geographical area on the map, from which the image of a lady in black emerges. If you observe from a little more distance, you would see that the first one in fact is a sketch of a man giving way to the image of the veiled lady who is wearing jewellery.
“This is the most expensive painting in the exhibition, priced at QR100,000. But in general the paintings are priced between QR17,000 to QR27,000,” says the artist. Four paintings at the exhibition, the most expensive ones, have been dedicated to generate funds for Nepal.
“I am not targeting to generate any specific amount from the sale of these paintings but whatever money we are be able to generate, all of it will go to help the people of Nepal. And I am confident that we will be able to generate a handsome sum,” says Chernovil.
The Ukrainian artist, who along with his artist wife Nadia Chernovil works at Decoration Centre Doha as Creative Director, says he has been affected on a personal level by the devastating earthquake that destroyed Nepal.
Chernovils love travelling. Before coming to Doha, they had a tour of different continents and visited Nepal as well.
“It is such a beautiful country. In fact, this picture here was painted in Nepal. It is called the blue monkey and I painted it in Pokhara, Nepal,” Chernovil points to beautiful painting which shows a monkey’s face appearing out of an abstraction of colours.
“I feel a bond with the people of Nepal and their culture. I want to help them in whatever way I can. As I am an artist, I wanted to do it with something that I do best,” the Ukrainian artist said.
Art, he says, is all about sharing love. He feels that art is not the property of a single person. Through his personal exhibition, he wants to help the people whom he has known and with whom he has affinity.
Born in Odessa Ukraine, Chernovil graduated from Odessa State Art College in 2000. Since then he has taken part in various regional and international level projects on painting and art. His work has been exhibited at galleries across the world and dozens of his pieces are in the private collections of art lovers.
His ongoing exhibition at Katara also features an installation of paintings made by Ukranian children titled “Children of our Future”. The installation was brought to Doha for the exhibition with the help of the Embassy of Ukraine.
The artist says it shows how important it is for children to transfer their experience, share knowledge and their capabilities with other representatives of art and culture that bring together creative ideas.
Chernovil is an artist of exceptional talent and his ideas are very striking. He is not shy of working with bright and shocking colours while creating masterpieces with mute colours at the same time. In fact, an abstract piece at the exhibition has been done entirely in white.
The biggest of his paintings is a sort of a world map. “Every ocean on the map depicts love and these oceans connect different continents. So all continents have oceans of love in between them and they share the same passion,” says Chernovil.
Talking about unrest back in his own country, the artist says he is an optimist and a big believer in harmony and compassion. “There is war going in our country and I hope it is just a phase. There will once again be better days. I am hopeful that there would soon be peace. Such difficult times come on people and countries but then they pass. There has to be a new day,” he says.
The artist says he observes society in Qatar very closely and their traditions. It gives him ideas and inspiration for his work. He finds this area very interesting and see the country, its landscape and its people as very interesting objects to get ideas from.
When he first started work here, he intended to stick to a certain subject but then, he says, he got so much energy and ideas from here that he changed his plan and decided to go with the flow. This exhibition is the result of all that energy and motivation that Chernovil has received during his stay here.
“The stark contrast in the selection of colours for my paintings reflects my lack of control over the powerful of emotions that I experience when I am working. Initially I decided to make all my paintings on a single theme for this exhibition but then I kept on having so many different ideas,” says Chernovil.
One of his paintings features two girls, with their hair coloured in the colours of the flags of Ukraine and Qatar. The light colours, particularly the white symbolises the cordial relations between the two countries and the bubbles around the girls show a budding relationship between two young countries.
In another painting titled ‘Different Paths’, what you see in the first instance is not exactly what it looks like. At first, you see mountains covered in snow. But if you look closely, you would see an image of an Arabic man attired in white robes reading Qur’an.
It is inspired by the local traditions and the people of Qatar and it reflects a message of love and peace, says the Ukranian artist.
Chernovil has been a runner-up of the Painting Sculpture and Graphics Contest organised by General Consulate of China. He has developed and monitored projects for interior design, painting, sculpture and design. Many of his interior design works can be seen in different cities of Ukraine and in his native city of Odessa.
Through work here, Chernovil aims to convey to the audience the values of modern Qatari society in which the individual values are interconnected in such a way that each enhances the other and thus forms a coherent whole.
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