Lialia Kuchma


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Lialia Kuchma
About the author

BIO I was born in Pidhajchi, Ukraine and raised in Chicago, Illinois amidst 2 dissonant cultures- Ukrainian traditions and Chicago reality. Creativity was always present in our lives and my family encouraged the study of art. I have a very distant but distinct sense of the old, (the customs, the language, the traditions, that faint history reel winding down). But I was compelled to acquire the day-to-day fluency in the new: grade school , H.S. and a BFA at the U.of Il. at Champaign Il. as well as additional courses at the Art Institute of Chicago and independent courses with master artists. I continued to explore the Ukrainian artforms (I was apprenticed for over 10 years to Pan. Petro Iwachniuk, a Ukrainian Master Woodworker, 8 years were spent as an assistant to M. Dykyj doing ornamentation and gold leaf application in the Ukrainian Church of Sts. Volodymyr & Olha in Chicago, Il.) During this time I continued with printmaking, pottery, photography and calligraphy. Then I took a course in weaving and decided to concentrate on tapestry. Continuing in the involvement within the community as a volunteer in our museums and Churches, the opportunity to collaborate with Irene Antonovych (another 8 year project) on a GENERATIONS project was funded through a grant from the Illinois Humanities Foundation. This project documented the lives of over 300 Ukrainian immigrants in our community through photography and oral interviews. my creative foundations have developed through the disciplines of printmaking, through calligraphy to photography and Ukrainian decorative wood inlay. A number of these I have reluctantly laid aside to focus exclusively on weaving, specifically tapestry. Currently I am the chair of the art committee of the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art where I also volunteer. Weaving, particularly tapestry remains an essential form of creative expression.