Art and War exhibit showcases artwork by Fresno State Alumna

Yulia Gasio artist of the “Art And War” Exhibit speaks at the opening ceremony at the Henry Madden Library on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020 (Armando Carreno/The Collegian)

The Art and War exhibit showcases paintings and drawings by Yulia Gasio depicting the war in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

The exhibit’s opening ceremony was Feb. 6 in the Leon S. Peters Ellipse Gallery in the Henry Madden Library. The event featured speakers Dr. Hiroaki Kuromiya and Rev. Gregory Zubacz, with a special performance of Ukranian folk music by George Wyhinny, and the artist herself. 

The exhibit features 10 of Gasio’s artworks displaying different aspects of the war. The purpose is to bring awareness to the unacknowledged war in Ukraine. She has been working on the exhibit for over a year. 

The inspiration for the artwork was through Gasio’s personal experiences. 

“In my paintings and drawings, I depict the trauma of an ongoing war through the experiences of my immediate family living in the war zone of eastern Ukraine for the last four years,” said Gasio in her artist’s statement. 

Gasio is a Ukraine native who received her master’s degree from Fresno State in art with an emphasis in art history in 2015. She later received a second master’s degree from California 

State University, Long Beach, where she currently resides and works as a professor.

The artist stated she would “never return home again due to the dangers there.” 

Kuromiya provided some background information about the war in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine. Kuromiya is a professor of history at Indiana University and is a specialist on Ukranian and Soviet history. 

He has been studying the Donbas more than over 20 years and has written a book about the war in Ukraine.

He presented a guest lecture titled; “How to Understand the Enigma of the Donbas.”

The ceremony also featured an a cappella song from Wyhinny that blended liturgical chants with Ukrainian folk music to commemorate those slain by the war.

Wyhinny wrote and produced a Ukrainian play for his undergraduate thesis from Stanford University.

Zubacz offered a prayer for the fallen in Ukraine. He is a priest of the Ukraian Catholic Eastern Rite Church and associate provost at Fresno Pacific University. 

The war in Ukraine has resulted in more than 13,000 casualties and displaced over 2 million people. The war is ongoing today and shows no sign of resolution. 

The event was sponsored by the Henry Madden Library, the College of the Arts and Humanities and the College of Social Sciences in cooperation with the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, the Ukrainian Culture Center, the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council, the Ukrainian Federal Credit Union and the Ukrainian Art Center.  

The art will be displayed in the gallery until the end of February. 

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