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Volodymyr Sholudko, a sculptor who creates monuments
Volodymyr Sholudko is a notable Ukrainian sculptor who has created about 20 sculpture monuments, a considerable number of memorial plaques and smaller sculpture pieces. He graduated from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture, having studied in the studio of architecture of academic Vasyl Boroday, in 1989. Since then his creations have become well known in Ukraine. One of his recent works is a monument to Dmitriy Tuptal, a 16th century Metropolitan of Rostov, in the village of Makariv in Kyiv Region, where the Metropolitan, a prominent Orthodox Church hierarch, was born. The sculptor was interviewed by Volodymyr Onyshchenko, an artist and art critic.
Do you remember when your interest in art began?
I loved music in my early childhood. I learned to play the accordion before I went to school. In my school days, I developed a strong interest in drawing, and this new interest proved to be so strong that it overcame my love of music. But I don’t regret it. One of my first teachers was Volodymyr Rybachuk, a painter from the village of Zdolbuniv. I studied at an art school for children in the city of Rivne, and later at a college of applied arts in Vyzhnytsya in the Bukovyna region. The teachers at that college were very good and there were talented artists among them — Zhavoronkov, Zhukovsky, Verkhol and Talayevych, who taught me a lot, particularly where it matters most — basic art skills. But it was my studies at the Academy, under such teachers as Ivan Makohon, Viktor Sukhenko, the painter Valentyn Borysenko and the academic Vasyl Boroday that gave me the most for developing my skills.
In fact, what I know now and what I can do as an artist, I’ve learned from them. They generously shared their understanding of plastic art with me. For a sculptor, it’s very important who his teachers are.
I find your monument to Shevchenko, ‘Apostle of Truth and Freedom,’ in the town of Kovel to be very good. Could you say a few words about it?
That monument to Taras Shevchenko was my graduation work at the Academy in 1989. It was graded excellent and the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine recommended that the monument be placed in Shevchenko Hay (Grove) in Kovel. Because of certain material and ideological circumstances, the erecting of the monument was delayed for many years, and it was unveiled at a ceremony on August 22, 2005. Shevchenko visited Kovel in 1846 as a member of a scientific expedition, and he came to Kovel again in bronze and granite almost 160 years later. It was a long and difficult road that the poet had to travel.
What are you working on now?
I’m creating a monument to Taras Bulba (title character of the 19th century writer Nikolai Gogol’s novel of the same name). Also, I’m working on a monument to Heorhiy Gongadze (investigative Ukrainian journalist murdered by secret police for his criticism of President Leonid Kuchma’s regime) jointly with two other sculptors, Yury Kozeratsky and Stefan Zahaykevych, both of whom are my good friends. We are already making an actual-size model of the monument. We have been commissioned to do so by the Kyiv City Council.
I know that in 2006 you made an interesting monument for the city of Rivne. Could you provide some details?
It’s right that the names of half-forgotten historical personages are remembered and monuments to them are erected. Very few people knew anything about Princess Mariya Rivenska (aka Nesvitska), but, after the monument to her is erected in Rivne, people will learn more about her and respect her memory. Mariya, who lived at the end of the 15th and early 16th centuries, and was the owner of the estate and settlement that later developed into the town, was actually the founder of Rivne. She managed to get the Magdeburg Law granted to Rivne.
It was a great esthetic and creative pleasure for me to work on that marble monument. To properly create the image of a 15th century princess, I had to study a lot of historical documents and materials. I wanted to find out how she might have looked, what dresses she might have worn, what pattern her dress might have been decorated with. I examined sculptures by the Czech sculptor Mishel Bek, Polish tombs of the 16th century, Spanish and Italian furniture made at that time, and did a lot more research. I learned a great deal of the history of those times.
Are there any other monuments created by you that can be found in Rivne?
Oh yes, there are! Rivne and the village of Zdovbytsya in its vicinity are my native places. In the central street of Rivne, Soborna, there is a monument to Dmytro Klyachkivsky, a legendary commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), (also known by his pseudonym) Klym Savura, who died in battle at the hands of the occupiers in 1945.
In Teatralna Ploshcha (Theater Square) in Rivne stands my monument to Ulas Samchuk, the author of many books, among them two trilogies, ‘Volyn’ and ‘Ost.’ The monument was unveiled in February 2005. Samchuk was put on the list of Nobel Prize candidates for literature in 1982. I also created the bronze bust of Samchuk that stands by the local council building in the village of Zdolbuniv.
Where was the monument that you carved in stone for the town of Kremenets placed?
That monument to Wilibald Besser (Ukrainian botanist of Austrian descent, 1784–1842) was erected on the territory of the Pedagogical University. He was the founder of the first botanical garden in Ukraine, which was laid out at a lyceum in Kremenets (one of the schools at the University). The garden dates from 1806. The monument was commissioned by the poet and bard Oleksandr Smyk.
I’ve seen sketches for monuments to Kostyantyn and Vasyl Ostrozky in your studio.
At the moment, these are hardly more than projects. I’ll offer the authorities of the town of Ostrih to have these monuments erected in honor of these Grand Dukes who played an important role in the town’s history. You see, I’ve got quite a few sketches of monuments to prominent personalities. Some of my projects are carried out, while others wait until the right time comes. My ambition is to create a gallery of monumental portraits of Ukrainian cultural figures who lived and worked in the region of Bukovyna — Yury Fedkovych, an author; Volodymyr Ivasyuk (a Ukrainian popular music composer whose premature death in 1979 is said to have been a KGB murder), Nazariy Yaremchuk, a song writer and singer, Ivan Mykolaychuk, an actor and film director…
At the time of my studies in Bukovyna, I came to know the culture and ethnographic features of that region well. The idea to create such monuments occurred to me when I saw the monument to Oleksa Dovbush (a famous 18th century western Ukrainian rebel under the Austro-Hungarian Empire who has been likened to Robin Hood) created by Valentyn Borysenko, which stands on a hill in Pechenizhyn…
Can you imagine, standing there, like a huge rock above a road, a monument to, say, Mykolaychuk or Yaremchuk? They say, where there’s a will, there’s a way. The will is there, so it remains to find patrons who will finance the creation of monuments honoring these outstanding personalities.
Monument to Taras Shevchenko, “Apostle of Truth
and Freedom,” in the town of Kovel, Volyn Oblast.
Bronze; height 7,5 m. 2005.
Model of a monument “Taras Bulba” for the town
of Dubno, Rivno Oblast. 2008.
Monument to the Ukrainian writer Ulas Samchuk in
the town of Rivne. Bronze; height — 2,6 m. 2005.
Monument to Klym Savur, a commander of the
Ukrainian Insurgent Army, in the town of Rivne.
Stone, bronze; height 2,6 m. 2003.
Monument to the Fallen Soldiers in the village
of Rokyni, Volyn Oblast. Stone; height 4,5 m. 1990.
Mykola Hohol (Nikolay Gogol; nineteenth century
Russian writer of Ukrainian descent).
Bronze; height 30 ñm. 2005.
Monument to Princess Mariya Rivenska-Nesvitska
in the town of Rivne. Marble; height 2,5 m. 2006.
Monument to Dmytriy Rostovsky in the town of
Makariv, Kyiv Oblast. Bronze; height 5,2 m. 2007.