Зеновія Шульга Zenoviia Shulha

* 1952

  • “And then comes Stefa Shabatura, who thinks in terms and concepts influenced by the artistic schools that were already being developed here in Lviv. Specifically, the school of Karl Zvirynskyi. And I want to say... Furthermore, I'll return to Hlyniany... 1959, to Hlyniany... It used to be a city, formerly a county town, but now it was part of the Hlyniany district. And there was a court. Ivan Kandyba worked in the court, and Levko Lukyanenko came. And it was in Hlyniany that the idea of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group was born. My mother used to tell me, she said, “How amazed we all were in Hlynyany.” (You know, they used to call all people from the east “moskals”). “Look at that moskal! He's wearing a blue and yellow embroidered shirt”. And it was Stefania Shabatura herself who was a participant in the Ukrainian Helsinki Group. It was she who wove her ‘Oleksa Dovbush’ in Hlyniany in 1968, for which she was accepted into the Artists’ Union. But she was also the author of two tapestries for which she was imprisoned. These were ‘Lesia Ukrainka’ and ‘Cassandra’ – she wove these two works in 1971 for the anniversary, and for that, on January 12, 1972, Stefania Shabatura, Lesia Krypyakevych, Natalka Pauk, Chornovil, the Kalyntsi were all searched on the same day. Not just any day, but January 12, between Christmas and Epiphany, when everyone is at home, you know? Clearly, Stefa Shabatura was imprisoned. So I have that pride, that even from a young age, I was infected with that love for art and a great sense of responsibility for what I will do in my life. Because art is a tremendous weapon. It cannot just be taken lightly.”

  • “But the history of that house is interesting. You know, the UPA combat unit in Hlyniany was very strong. I think Semkiv was a commander of that combat unit. There is a book written by Hnyda [Petro], I'll need to look at it more closely. And you know, the struggle was very sacrificial. And during the raid, Halyna [name mistake, her name was Maria] Haliatovska-Povkh from Perehnoiiv – she was my mother-in-law's colleague, they fled, hid, and took refuge in that house where I currently live. There were chests there, and they hid in those chests, and they weren't found there. In my house, where I now live. But my mother-in-law, you know, during the war in [19]47, she... They caught her... She went to Lviv, studied at a medical school. And here, by the way, she saw, there were two, there were two in the combat unit: Chaika and Yavir. And this Yavir was a provocateur who basically killed Chaika. And my mother-in-law was in that combat unit. And, of course, they caught her too. They caught her and took her to Zolochiv. And you know, there was no way out from Zolochiv – it meant death. It was either Siberia, torture, or death. And she says, my mother-in-law herself – Bohdana Markevych, that's what she was called back then, then she was married to Shulha – she says, I don't know why I did it... I started hitting... They were riding in a truck, and she started hitting the cabin, shouting hysterically, “I want to go to the bathroom!” They were like, “What?!” And she went to the stable, and a guy followed her. She said, “What, are you going to watch?!” He said, “Well, okay, go ahead!” And she knew that there... you know, there's a hole for pigs, and she climbed out through that hole. She saw that there was an old woman sitting in the courtyard, maybe 90 years old. She said, “Auntie, auntie, the Chekists are after me!” She said, “Sit down!” She sat down and that old woman covered her with her skirts, as if she was sitting on a stool. And that's it – she escaped. She escaped – she was gone! Then this Syvokon, a Chekist, comes to the family and says, “If you hand her over, you won't go to Siberia. But if you don't, tomorrow you all will go to Siberia!” And they discussed it... “But if you hand her over, we won't do anything to her.” Listen, they gave that Syvokon not just a handful of gold and not just one pig, but they didn't go. And my mother-in-law stayed. She got married, and in [19]50 my husband was born.”

  • “But my mother's cousin is also from Dychky. You know, people were very patriotically trained in the “Prosvita” organization. For example, in Hlyniany, there was an organization called “Sokil-Batko” founded by Ivan Boberskyi. Vasyl Tson took care of this organization, “Sokil-Batko”. You know, when there was a sports festival in 1914, it was dedicated to Taras Shevchenko, when they bought a piece of land here in Lviv for a Ukrainian stadium with public funds. They did physical exercises there. Unfortunately, it was on June 22. But this sports festival happened. And my mother's cousin, that is, my grandfather's brother's daughter, Nadia Dychok, she was dating a guy named Yaroslav Hrytsai. And they were all UPA members, those guys. And in 1947, you know, they were ambushed. And aunt Nadia told me that he was traveling with another guy, they reached Poltva, and they started walking through the forest. They heard that the Chekists were following them. Instead of going home... he went to Nadia, my mother's cousin. Why? Because there was a house and a stable there. And between the house and the stable, there was a 40-centimeter space, a hole was knocked out. It was possible to enter that hole and hide there. And she says, “They jumped into that... Shh! I hung an icon there. And they started torturing me. On the table, hitting my heels with a hammer, needles under my fingernails: “There are bandits here!” “There's no one here!” She screams horribly, but they just stand there, unable to do anything. And then they say: “You damn Banderite! Get down on your knees in front of the icon and swear that they're not here.” And she gets down on her knees, prays, and crosses herself, swearing that they are not there. And they are standing behind the icon. Well, but... Easter holidays... He escaped, bought someone else's passport, went to Ternopil, and worked as a carpenter. But on Easter holidays, his mother baked Easter bread and went to bring it to her son. He had a different surname, a different name... But the Chekists were after them. Can you imagine how vengeful they were? And right there, they took Slavka, and right there, they took Nadia. They took Nadia, took Slavka to the prison on Lontskoho Street, right here.” – “Did she go with the mother? With his mother?” – "No, they came to her home. And right there, they took Nadia. And she says, ‘They threw us in a room, maybe 10-12 square meters, with about twenty people. And the girls say: in the toilet you can talk to the guys’. And she makes a deal with Slavko in prison about what they would say at trial. So, because he escaped back then, they gave them all 10-15 years. He was given 25, and she was given 15. And when that bastard died, that... that Stalin, that filth... there was amnesty. But they weren't allowed to come further than Antratsyt.”

  • “Well, this Yosyp Dychok... there is an interesting family story. When in 1943 the Germans were killing Jews, he... my grandfather told me himself... He said, “It was autumn, November, and we had corn stalks piled up in our garden <...> I look and see a shadow from one stack to another. I go there – and there's a Jewish woman.” He says, “Bina, what are you doing here?!” And she says, “Listen, Yosyp, they are killing us horribly. Hide me!” And he kept her in the attic from November until March. Meanwhile, the Germans would come, eat, and take chickens – it was a great risk. And in the end, she says, “Listen, Yosyp, how long am I going to sit in your attic? Take me to Korovychi [Kurovychi]”. Why?.. By the way, there was a ghetto there. Why Kurovychi? Was her family there? Because what the Germans did: first, they would take them to work, and then they would kill them. And my grandfather agreed. He says, “She covered her face as if she had a toothache. Going…” And there, you know, it's about nine kilometers to the highway, and then a right turn. At the turn, there's this... a German soldier, “Halt! Jude!” “No, not Jude! She's my wife, she has a toothache” “Well, then, go…” And then this Bina, I don't know her last name, she wrote to my grandfather about what happened next. She said they did catch her there, threw her into the cellar. And she said: “I hear Slavka from Hlyniany singing...” I don't know who this Slavka was. She takes a gold watch, gives it to the one who guards her and a note. She says: “Bring it to the one who is singing!” And that Slavka freed Bina. And Bina went back and forth, escaped to the Czech Republic, and then moved to Israel. And she wrote to my grandfather, “Thank you for saving me!” Well, but it was 1944, “liberation... from butter, bread, and cows”. My grandfather had a barn that was 40 meters wide. They left only one-third of it. They did it with carts. I don't know why that barn bothered them. They put calves in each... in each stable. Grandma was supposed to take care of them for free, in grandma’s barn. So what happened? One night, they took my grandfather and knocked out his teeth on one side, “Write off everything for the collective farm!” – “I won't give it!” On the next night, they knocked out his teeth on the other side, “Write off everything for the collective farm!” – “I won't give it!” And later, grandma says she slaughtered a pig and went around giving bribes so they would take her to that collective farm, because otherwise they would have been taken to Siberia. And she says, then they started accusing him, “Oh, you Banderite! You killed Jews here!” And he says, “You know, not only did I not kill them, I even...” By the way, my grandfather saved two of them. I don't know anything about the other one, but why is this Bina interesting? Then the most beautiful hen in the yard was Bina. You know, some associative chain. “...I even saved them”. – “If you prove it, you won't go to Siberia!” And my mother says they sat on suitcases and didn't stay home at night – they went to cellars, to neighbors. Because they were wealthier. And this Bina not only wrote a letter saying, “Yes, there was such a fact that Yosyp Dychok, Dychok Yosyp Vasyliovych, saved me from death”, but she also sent a carpeted tablecloth and two pillows. And you know, for us, it's such a mark, such a sign that goodness returns. So he saved her then, and this time she saved him. And they didn't take the family to Siberia.”

  • “My father was a very skilled tailor who served the entire Lviv elite. And so, I grew up in Lviv in a very good, family-oriented society where practically everyone loved each other. You know, after the war, the value of life was highly regarded. And this “sense of family”: celebrating birthdays, every Sunday we would either go to the park or to the cinema... My father, he had a tailoring education, but he was a person who would be at the theater every Saturday. He not only tailored for the finest artists of the Maria Zankovetska Theater. I also remember from my childhood at home: my mother and father coming back from the theater and saying, “You know, Kadyrova [Larysa] didn't perform very well today, but Maxymenko [Volodymyr] did!” And it was... In addition, there was a large phonotheque in our house. There were recordings of operas, operettas, and a few Ukrainian songs. And I practically grew up listening to Ivan Kozlovskyi himself. I remember to this day: in the evening, when my parents were away somewhere, I would turn on the record player, and it had to be dark. And I would imagine that Maritza [the character from Imre Kalman's operetta “Countess Maritza”]. I didn't see her, but visually everything was very clear."

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    Lviv, 24.11.2022

    duration: 02:32:33
    media recorded in project Voices of Ukraine
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Art is a very powerful weapon that holds you together

Awardee of the regional prize in the field of culture named after Zenovii Flinta, 2021
Awardee of the regional prize in the field of culture named after Zenovii Flinta, 2021
photo: Personal archive of Zenoviia Shulha

Zenovia Shulha (née Halan) is a Ukrainian artist in the field of textile art, ethnographer, and professor at the Lviv National Academy of Arts. She was born on January 23, 1952, in the ancient town of Hlyniany in Lviv region. During her studies at the Lviv Art School affiliated with the Artists’ Union, she had the opportunity to become acquainted with the works of leading representatives of the Ukrainian and international avant-garde, infamous in the USSR. In 1974, she successfully graduated from the Lviv State Institute of Applied and Decorative Arts (now Lviv National Academy of Arts) and joined the textile art department, where she started working in 1981. After completing her education, she worked for five years at the Hlyniany Art Products Factory “Peremoha”, mastering all the nuances of artistic weaving techniques. She became the initiator and driving force behind the revival of the traditional Hlyniany carpet weaving and the inspirational figure for international textile art plein-airs. She not only researched the technology of pre-war Hlyniany carpet weaving but also received the craft’s secrets firsthand from her older relatives. As an art historian, she brought the names of world-renowned artists back into the history of pre-war Hlyniany carpet weaving. She is also known as the author of woven clothing in ethnostyle and a researcher of folk costumes. She is the creator of tapestries, carpets, and bedspreads, which are preserved in museums both in Ukraine and abroad. In 1986, she was nominated for the National Taras Shevchenko Award for her ethnographic costumes for the renowned Veriovka State Academic Folk Choir. She is the author of numerous artistic, research, and educational projects, as well as a range of art historical studies, catalogs, and monographs. She serves as the chair of the Textile Art Section of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine. She is a mother of four daughters.