This presentation of the works of Lada Verbina brings together examples from various series created in 2019-2022. In her practice, Verbina often uses household images from Stara Huta, her grandmother’s village in Khmelnytskyi oblast. The artist’s interest in archetypes, Ukrainian folklore, ethnography, and mythology, as well as her anthropological observations of the countryside are reflected in her use of a variety of contemporary art forms. One of the most pervasive images in Verbina’s practice is that of bread: a bagel with sesame seeds, a brick-bread, a wedding loaf, breads for holiday or everyday, savory ones and sweet ones—all feature in her photographs, objects, videos, and drawings.

In contrast to fertility and wealth, today in wartime Ukraine the image of bread becomes associated with the food crisis and the harvest under fire. According to Dmytro Kuleba, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since May 2022, the Russian military has been engaged in the mass theft of grain and, having captured Ukrainian ports and since the first days of the invasion blockaded Ukraine’s only maritime shipping routes through military control of the Black and Azov seas, is attempting to sell it abroad illegally transporting it through the Bosphorus. Planting and harvesting also remains impossible for farmers in many Ukrainian regions—even fields that have been recaptured are often mined or already destroyed. As many now warn of repercussions that could lead to a global food crisis, especially in Africa and Asia, the situation is further exacerbated by the explicit targeting of storage facilities and agricultural machinery by Russian artillery.

Lada Verbina is an artist from Kyiv. She studies monumental art at the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture. In her work, she uses various artistic media, including drawings, paintings, objects, and photos. Her works have been exhibited in numerous art spaces in Kyiv, including depot 12_59, Soshenko 33, White World Gallery, Peremoga Coworking, and Korners Gallery. Lives and works in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Published 4 October 2022