UN Women spotlights the contribution of women artists to the culture of Ukraine

Date: Friday, March 15, 2019

UN Women, together with partners, established the Women in Arts Award to promote the professional advancement of women in arts and culture. Photo: UN Women/Volodymyr Shuvayev

In March this year, Ukraine participated in the HeForShe Arts Week, a global week of awareness and action to celebrate gender equality in culture and arts, for the second time. To commemorate the first anniversary of the HeForShe movement in Ukraine and to recognise Ukrainian female artists of the past and present, UN Women, in partnership with the Ukrainian Institute, a state institution that represents Ukrainian culture internationally, has established the Women in Arts Award.

The purpose of this all-Ukrainian award is to support and promote the professional advancement of women in the field of Ukrainian arts and culture nationally and internationally, as well as to break gender stereotypes and eliminate inequalities.

An experienced art curator Kateryna Taylor helped form an independent Expert Council and Expert Jury to select nominees and help choose the winners. The Expert Council and Expert Jury consist of experts in literature, art, music and theatre: film critics and writers, literary scholars, publishers, media representatives, art scholars and other specialists. The Award organisers sought to maintain gender balance and form an Expert Council representing various sectors (private and public, as well as independent expertise) in order to ensure an impartial and non-biased approach to selecting candidates.

The main criteria for the candidates are their professional achievements, innovativeness and national or international recognition.

Winners were selected in the following five nominations:

  • Women in visual arts (artists, sculptors)
    The Winner is Vlada Ralko, Ukrainian contemporary artist.
  • Women in music (musicians, composers, performers)
    The Winner is Nina Gartnetska, Ukrainian musician, participant of the bands Dakha Brakha and Dakh Daughters.
  • Women in theater and movie (directors, actresses, screenwriters)
    The winner is Irma Vitovska-Vantsa, Ukrainian actress, producer and civil activist.
  • Women in literature (authors, poets)
    The Winner is Kateryna Kalytko, Ukrainian poet, writer and interpreter.
  • Women in cultural management (curators, producers, art-managers)
    The Winner is Olesya Ostrovska Liuta, Ukrainian art manager and curator.

“We must fight to win. We will replenish our teams. We will engage some people with positive influence, someone with a positive impetus. Everything will be magenta,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, at the opening ceremony of the Award.

The award ceremony took place on 13 March 2019. The names of the jury members, finalists and award regulations are published on the project’s website.

The Women in Arts 2019 statuette was created by the contemporary Ukrainian sculptor Maria Kulikovska in the form of interlaced women’s hands. The artist says that the hands symbolize support and protection for women’s labour, from both men and women.

The HeForShe movement in Ukraine is supported by the Government of Sweden.