Oksana Shachko / Оксана Шачко


Oxana Shachko (31 January 1987 – 23 July 2018) was an artist and activist from Ukraine, who is renowned as one of the founders of the FEMEN movement together with Anna Hutsol and Alexandra Shevchenko. The group organised public demonstrations and actions in different countries against sexism and gender inequality, as well as the dogma and paternalism of the Church. Shachko was trained from a young age in traditional Orthodox icon painting. She returned to this style of painting later in life during her period of exile in Paris, producing a series of paints collectively titled Iconoclast. Each painting appears in the first instance as a traditional scene, yet we see details that have been individually subverted. In a set of two paintings depicting the crucifixion, we see one is a woman. The other is male, and on closer inspection we see his penis is erect (which often happens during the moment men pass away). In a painting of St. Michael, we see dinosaurs in the image, rather than a dragon. In an image depicting angels, we see that they are gambling at a roulette wheel. Such features, though provocative for some, were not intended as anti-religious, but both a statement against indoctrination and a call for openness.

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