Yulia Pankova is often inspired by reading world classics from various cultures as well as her studies in folklore and mythology. Drawn from imagination, the artist’s recent paintings were inspired by “The Tale of Genji”, a masterpiece of Japanese literature written by the noblewoman and lady-in-waiting, Murasaki Shikibu in the early years of the 11th century.
Prior to adding a modern interpretation of the world of Genji, Yulia Pankova carried out studies of traditional woodblock prints as well as freehand ink and brush Japanese landscape paintings. This helped her acquire a deeper understanding of the beauty of a minimalistic aesthetic and a fluidity of line.
The artist also enjoys drawing from life and adding surreal themes to her portraiture watercolor paintings; symbols in the form of decorative motifs, objects, and colors are used to tell a story in these artworks. When she draws from a model she explores different stylistic elements from across time and merges them with her own unique interpretation. One may see the impact of Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements on some of her recent pieces, as well as that of Edo period Japan. She takes pleasure in using her imagination to make her vision of mythology and lore come to life on paper or on canvas.
She believes that storytelling has been an eternal element of culture, even while the form it takes changes from generation to generation, from word of mouth tales told by village elders to movies and videos shared digitally. However, the idealisms of the past have long been a source of fascination for her: the wisdom and beauty of form presented by relics of ancient Greece, the intricate splendor of oriental decorative patterns, the energy and strength that is conveyed in an ancient scroll of Chinese calligraphy.
As seen by the variety in this year’s collection of paintings, the artist’s theme focuses on folklore from Japan, Persia, and even the Highlands of Scotland — tied by with the thread of immortal imagination.
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Yulia Pankova is an artist from Belarus. She currently lives and works in Canada and is a recent graduate from the University of Ottawa.