My art featured is based on my personal Ukrainian heritage and the tragic and largely unknown history of the Ukrainian people. I create embroidery designs through pixel art to make pieces that could be used in physical embroidery but can also stand as a story on their own. My inspiration for using pixel art came from the mapping process involved in embroidery and other fiber media. I found that creating the pixel patterns allowed me to create embroidery maps that also functioned as full art pieces. Unlike many other cultures, Ukrainian embroidery continues the pixelated forms past the planning stage which the pixel art can call reference to.
My process starts with extensive research on a historical event or embroidery theme and builds into a full story through traditional symbolism and regional-inspired colors. This semester, I created three banners to tell the stories about the history of Ukraine and my relation to it. I talk about the loss of culture perpetuated by Russia and the Red Scare. I also touch on Holodomor, the famine created by Stalin that killed millions of Ukrainians. And finally, the strength and persistence of the Ukrainian people which has grasped their roots even through suffering and manipulation. My designs weave together traditional Ukrainian symbolism and channel the anger and grief caused by these events to bring awareness and take a stance against the erasure of Ukrainian culture.