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Lesya Kara-Kotsya and her karakoko art style


Lesya Kara-Kotsya (born in 1978) is a contemporary Ukrainian artist, who comes from the picturesque village of Vilshana (the Land of Cherkashchyna, Ukraine). She often comes to Kyiv to attend exhibitions of her works and works of other artists, and to meet friends and her arts admirers. These meetings provide her with inspiration and she is happy to go back to Vilshana to create new paintings.


I love Ukraine and Im proud of my Ukrainian origin. Thats why I like to get closer to the roots of my family, to the village where my grandparents lived. There I can feel myself as a part of the true Ukrainianness. I like to talk to the locals, to watch the way they live. They often come to my house, which was built by my grandparents in 1920-ties. The visitors take interest in my new paintings. Those paintings, which are painted in the village, differ greatly from the ones, I paint in Kyiv. The city life influences my works and they turn out to be more fanciful, there is not so much nature in them. I cant say which ones are better or worse, they are just different. Lesya Kara-Kotsya



Ukraine gave birth to lots of talented people who became wide known. Its a pity that most of them were recognized after they had died. Lesya Kara-Kotsya is young, but has already gained recognition among arts lovers and critics  she has created her own style of painting. Arts experts couldnt find a pigeonhole for Lesyas paintings, so they gave her the right to name her style herself. She didnt think for a long time and called it karakoko. Kara comes from the artists family name Kara-Kotsya, and koko reminds us of rococo and baroque. The public liked the name and it stuck.

The artist uses symmetrical floral patterns, wide colour range and provides a symbolic idea in every painting. Its impossible to find such patterns in any arts encyclopedia. They are created by Lesyas imagination. When she was a child and got bored listening to teachers at school (she was not at the top of her class), she drew imaginary stylized flowers on the margins of her copybooks. She did it easily and didnt have to think them out, they just came out of her head. Later, Lesya used her imagination in creating her professional paintings.



She depicted mythological and fairy-tale creatures. Then she started painting funny creatures: piglets with trunks, and called them khobotarky (derived from a Ukrainian word khobot that means a trunk). There appeared lots of paintings, depicting khobotarkys adventures. There were three solo-exhibitions devoted to them: Khobotarkys Adventures, Travels and Chronicles. It encouraged Lesya to write a book Khobotarkys Adventures. Rescuing the Spring Sun. It contains about 100 authors illustrations. Its written in Ukrainian and going to be translated into English.


Pretaporte 2009

The Year 2009 will be, according to the Chinese calendar, the Year of Bull, and Lesya painted a polyptych of five paintings called The PRETAPORTE Collection of Seasons. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, And Spring Again. These five paintings feature fanciful clothes which, according to Lesya, will be fashionable in 2009.

These fanciful clothes are presented not by models, but by little calves. Haute couture clothes are usually designed for grown-ups, thats why they are a little too long for babies. But its not a problem for the little ones: they can get taller if they walk on stilts, stand on a bar stool or fly on a cloud or a balloon. You can walk a piglet like you walk a dog.

Summer is high time to wear fanciful sun-glasses and multicolored ribbons in your hair. Cows can wear cow swimsuits. There are lots of accessories in ones autumn dress  a hat, rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets and necklaces. Muffs will be the rage in 2009, but birds must live in them, so that they can keep warm.

The fifth painting is called And Spring Again. The little calf gets fed up pretending to be a grown-up, takes off all her chic clothes and enjoys her favorite pastime  flying upside down on balloons.


Helpful sister

Lesya is one of not many Ukrainian artists who has her own art dealer. This is her younger sister Anastasia Karakotsya, who arranges all Lesya Kara-Kotsyas exhibitions, sells her paintings and promotes her art. When I was a student, I sometimes helped Lesya arrange her exhibitions. I liked it much better than technical translation (my profession, which I learned at high school). One day I decided to take my chance, I quit interpreting and devoted myself to fine art. Now Im happy to have made such a decision: I love my work, which demands creativity. I like to make Ukraine be known not only for Chornobyl, but for great artists who live in this country, says Anastasia Karakotsya. Thanks to her sister, Lesya has taken part in many exhibitions, more than thirty of them showing only her works, and at festivals in Ukraine and Great Britain.

The artists paintings can be found in private collections in Ukraine, France, Denmark, the UK, Germany, Poland, Russia, the USA and Zimbabwe.


By Anna Gryvenyk

(this essay was written in English by the author

and WU has decided to publish it the way it was received

with only very little editing)


The Dove Spreads Her Wings, Flies Up

to the Sky and Turns Into a Star.

Acrylic on canvas, gold leaf, 100 x 80, 2007.


In Loch Ness there Lives Nessi with her

Little Baby Nessi. Take Care of Nature.

Acrylic on canvas, genuine gold, 100 x 80, 2008.


Polyptych The PRETAPORTE Collection of Seasons.


Acrylic on canvas, gold leaf, parts 40 x 80, 2008.


Polyptych The PRETAPORTE Collection of Seasons.


Acrylic on canvas, gold leaf, parts 40 x 80, 2008.


Polyptych The PRETAPORTE Collection of Seasons.


Acrylic on canvas, gold leaf, parts 40 x 80, 2008.


Polyptych The PRETAPORTE Collection of Seasons.


Acrylic on canvas, gold leaf, parts 40 x 80, 2008.


Polyptych The PRETAPORTE Collection of Seasons.

Spring Again.

Acrylic on canvas, gold leaf, parts 40 x 80, 2008.


Yellow Submarine.

Acrilic on canvas, genuine gold,

silver, 100 x 80, 2008.


Cover of the book Khobotarkys Adventures.

Rescuing the Spring Sun.



Acrylic on paper, 60 x 80, 2004.


Game Odyssey of Cousteau.

Acrylic on canvas, gold leaf, 40 x 80, 2007.


Sir Elton John.

Acrilic on canvas, gold leaf, 60 x 80, 2007.


Gods Like Cakes.

Acrilic on canvas, genuine gold,

silver, copper, 60 x 80, 2008.

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