A surfer rides a giant wave amidst a flurry of white and blue, the majestic legs of a horse are caught mid-trot against a backdrop of red and blue and the piece is aptly titled Ferrari, a hazy approximation of a man atop his camel seemingly emerges through a canvas drenched with yellow.
Self-taught Ukrainian artist Andrii Chernovil’s many such striking works are making heads turn and transfixed at the Eidiah Tourist Festival at the Qatar National Convention Centre, which is on until July 30. Chernovil’s brilliant paintings take pride of place at the centre of the sprawling exhibition hall full of bustling activities — and it’s hard to take your eyes off them. The festival combines the Qatari heritage events represented in the Heritage Village and the associated exhibition showcasing consumer goods and the bazaar featuring unique gifts, the region’s cuisine, and play area for kids, among other draws.
While the works of this 38-year-old Doha-based Ukrainian artist traverses various areas, horses, in this case, clearly dominate the series. Several detailed portraits of horses are on display, each of which conveys a multitude of emotions. “The stark contrast in the selection of colours for my paintings reflects my lack of control over the powerful emotions that I experience when I am working,” Chernovil said.
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.
“I like to observe the society in Qatar and its traditions very closely. This gives me ideas and inspiration for my work. I find this area very interesting and I see the country, its landscape and its people as very interesting objects to get ideas from,” he said.
What add to the distinctiveness of his art and approach to life itself are his spiritual leanings — his artist name is Abhinava, a Sanskrit word for young, new or innovative — and being in touch with his inner self. A month after the Himalayan earthquake of magnitude 7.8 that wreaked havoc in Nepal last April by killing more than 7,000 people and injuring more than twice as many, Chernovil did his own bit. He put up four of his most expensive paintings for sale at his exhibition, every single riyal of which was later sent to Nepal to help the victims.
Chernovil and his artist wife Nadia are avid travellers, having pulled off a big tour across different continents and countries, including Nepal, before coming to Doha. Chernovil takes his canvas along and paints wherever he goes. When he visits a new place, he takes some time to feel and absorb the culture and traditions of the place and the people. This can be seen in his paintings, he says, and it’s true. Referring to a painting which shows a monkey’s face appearing out of an abstraction of colours, Chernovil said, “I painted this one in Pokhara, Nepal. It is called the blue monkey.”
At one of his previous exhibitions, Chernovil had painted a giant interpretation of the world map. Every ocean on the map depicted love and the oceans in it connected different continents. That essentially meant that all continents have oceans of love in between them and that they share the same passion. Another of his paintings features two girls whose hair is coloured in the colours of the flags of Ukraine and Qatar — the white colour particularly standing for the cordial relations between the two countries, while the bubbles around the girls show a budding relationship between the two countries.
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.
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