Between Tradition and Avantgard: Natalka Husar, a Canadian with Ukrainian Roots

Thursday, November 2, 2006
7:00 pm
Room 516, Hamilton Hall

The Ukrainian Studies Program at Columbia University will host a talk by Natalka Husar, a Canadian artist with Ukrainian roots, titled:


Natalka Husar is considered an original, provocative, and even polarizing artist. What makes Ms. Husar’s art interesting is that she works at a point of dramatic collision, which she herself orchestrates, between Ukrainian traditionalism and post-modernist aesthetic and ethical relativism. By subjecting the inherited folkloric canons to a criticism that is not always friendly, Ms. Husar paradoxically creates an opening for a new Ukrainian self- and world-view.

"Natalka Husar has consistently used her painting to express concerns related to her Ukrainian heritage. Having visited her parents' homeland, once in 1969 during the communist regime, and then in 1992 and 1993, after independence was declared, Husar has taken the issue of ethnicity and interwoven it with her own feminist concerns. As a Ukrainian-American woman, she grew up with an ideal of womanhood that was silent and compliant, even decorative, and this ideal was always in contrast with the self she saw as powerful and aggressive. In her work, Husar struggles with the conflict between these identities, between the place of her parents' birth and the place she now inhabits, between Ukraine and the North American Ukrainian community with its myths of Ukraine." (

Natalka Husar was born in New Jersey in 1951 to Ukrainian immigrant parents. In 1973, she received her BFA from Rutgers University in 1973 and moved to Toronto where she currently lives and works.

Ms. Husar's pictures are coveted by private collectors and galleries whose interest do not necessarily include Ukraine. Her catalogued solo exhibitions include Faces/Facades, 1980; Behind the Irony Curtain, 1986; Milk and Blood, 1988-89; True Confessions, 1991-92; Black Sea Blue, 1995-96 and most recently Blond with Dark Roots, organized and circulated by the Art Gallery of Hamilton from 2001-2005. Her work is in numerous private and public collections, including the Canada Council Art Bank, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada. In 2006, BRAVO TV profiled her work in a half hour television documentary.

Free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Diana Howansky at 212-854-4697 or