New East Digital Archive

National colours: Ukrainian photographer Krystyna Bilak explores patriotic painting

18 July 2016

Young photographer Krystyna Bilak from Mukacheve in western Ukraine examines identity formation in her photo series UA, centering on the prevalence of the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Through her photos, Bilak explores whether the increasing presence of blue and yellow paint in the world around her, applied to a wide range of seemingly random surfaces, represents a desire to express patriotism and strengthen national identity. In UA, she points to the temporary nature of these “artworks”, casting doubt on their future.

“I recognised that they started to paint national colours onto different surfaces a few months ago. [...] Do they want to strengthen national identity? Do they want to express their patriotism and protection with this? I capture this period with my work, portraying its temporary status, which made it conspicuous. What will be the fate of these paintings with time?” said the photographer.