Kyrylo works as a visual artist and paints surrealistic motifs with oil paint on canvas. “I process emotions, current political issues and implement ideas that arise in my subconscious.” For an upcoming exhibition, his current work deals with the war in Ukraine, his home country. In one painting, you can see the outline of Russian President Vladimir Putin, inspired by René Magritte's “The Son of Man.” Instead of an apple, however, it is a hand grenade that hides his face. Kyrylo originally studied architecture, and this background is reflected in his motifs. “Perspectival depth in drawing and three-dimensionality are things I was able to take away from my studies. After I graduated, I worked at an architecture firm for a year, but that wasn't for me. I've had an interest in visual arts since I was young.” Rather subtly, queer themes also appear in his work.
The pandemic has played its part in Kyrylo's return to painting. His work and studies had to be put on halt. Kyrylo was stuck with friends in Dresden for more than a month, and it was there that he picked up a paintbrush again after a long time. “The first piece I painted during this time – I was able to sell it. This motivated me to create more paintings and apply for the BBK, the professional association for artists in Germany.” In 2016, Kyrylo moved to Hohenschäftlarn for his studies, then, in 2020, in an apartment in Munich with his partner. Kyrylo describes himself as an introvert and has yet to connect with the local LGBTQIA+ community due to the pandemic and his time-consuming studies. “A lot of people from the queer community take the brave step to be self-employed. People who stand by their identity and venture – they inspire me a lot." He has been getting to know Munich better step by step and thinks that he will stay here for the next few years.
For Kyrylo, being queer means being able to express himself publicly without having to hide anything. His queerness was also the reason why he had to leave Ukraine after school. His wish for security initially took him to northern Germany. “I must say that in the last few years, the situation in Ukraine has changed for the better. Especially in Kyiv, the acceptance of queer people has increased.” Kyrylo shares stories of queer friends who joined the military because of the war. The rights they fought for for years are being threatened and queer organizations and members are trying everything to keep them intact. For Kyrylo, it is important to show that queer people are not always flamboyant and colorful, but a cross-section of our society, and that diverse family constellations exist.
Kyrylo's wish is to continue to establish himself as a visual artist and try new things. “I'm listening to my gut – and it’s telling me: go for it. Even though I didn't have an art degree, the BBK accepted me as a member. This made me eligible for a scholarship so that I can work on new art projects.” Currently, Kyrylo is taking care of his mother (and her two cats) who had to flee Ukraine and is now staying in his apartment. “I've been struggling, but my motivation is slowly coming back. I'm trying to process my impressions and emotions with my art and would like to exhibit these pieces soon.”