top of page

August 26 - October 22, 2023
Co-curated by Adrienne Kochman, Ged Merino,Olena Jennings & Virlana Tkacz
Presented by Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Poets of Queens and Yara Arts Group

ARTISTS: Magdalena Arguelles, Julianna Canal, Isabella Kiser, Waldemart Klyzuko, Jaroslava Kuchma, Isabella Lopez, Ged Merino, Katherine Nuñez, Bob Nuestro, Aze Ong, Miguel Puyat.
POETS: Pichchenda Bao, Rosebud Ben-Oni, Michelle Esquivias Sy, Sherese Francis, Olena Jennings, Ananda Lima, Floraime Oliveros Pantaleta, Wanda Phipps, Virlana Tkacz, Serhiy Zhadan.

InTHREADS art and poetry respond to each other and intertwine. The textile artists in this exhibition created new works of art based on selected poems by Ukrainian and English language poets. But the true language of the exhibit is the art the poetry inspired. The artists come from diverse backgrounds such as Ukraine, U.S., Colombia and the Philippines, their work connected through their use of fiber and textile techniques that give the poetry volume in space.

Threads Exhibition photosreviews

THREADS was conceived by Virlana Tkacz and Olena Jennings. They chose poems by Yara Arts Group and Poets of Queens writers they thought would be inspiring. They presented their idea to textile artists they knew and the artists in turn suggested other artists. In 2020 Ged Merino organized the first exhibitions at his Bliss on Bliss Art Projects, Topaz Arts and Flux Factory in Queens, NY that included outdoor readings, as well as in Bogota Columbia at Maleza Proyectos curated by Alejandra Fonseca, with involvement of local artists. He introduced the project to Carlos Quijon, Jr. who curated the show in Manila, Philippines at Drawing Room Contemporary Art.

Originally limited because of the pandemic, contact between the poets and artists has flourished now. Isabella Lopez connected with Pichchenda Bao. Isabella’s piece “Monumento a una pérdida” shows a family. The weft is removed in one section to portray a missing father, a father whose stories are relayed in Pichchenda’s poem. Ged Merino connected with Sherese Francis. Sherese eventually responded to his piece “Self Portrait en
Desplazamiento” with another poem. In this way, the poets continue their connection to the artists and exhibit.

There are layers of connection and dialogue. Aze Ong created a piece “Boundaries” based on Wanda’s poem “Womb Dreams.” Then, she went on to create a performance piece in which she interacted with her own artwork to the sound of Wanda reading her poem. Waldemart Klyuzko uses traditional weaving techniques with nontraditional materials such as police hazard tape. He uses his woven pieces to cover the balcony of his own apartment in Kyiv and makes a coat out of it. Serhiy Zhadan’s poem “How Did We Build Our Homes?” inspires Waldemart’s art pieces. Waldemart even writes out the English translation of the Zhadan poem on the hazard tape and films it for his installation video. His art is part of his “Home East” projects responding to the Russian war on Ukraine.

THREADS brings together textiles and text to reveal their individual texture and unique materiality. The poems are part of the exhibit and are presented in different ways, from text on the wall to readings and performances on video.

3 Olena in Red Krystia Nora.jpg
2 Jullian in red Krystia Nora.jpg
wix threads 7.5.jpg

On Thursday, August 24, 2023 the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Poets of Queens and Yara Arts Group celebrated Ukrainian Independence Day by featuring contemporary art and poetry. The event included the launch of a new book, "Threads: Poems to Inspire Art," an anthology of work by poets whose work inspired the art in the Threads exhibition at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art till October 22, 2023. Virlana Tkacz read her English translations of Ukrainian poet Serhiy Zhadan, as well as her own work. Zhadan's poem "How Did We Build Our Homes" also inspired a video by Ukrainian artist Waldemart Kluyzko which was screened. In the video Crimean Tatars in Yara's show read Zhadan's poem in Ukrainian. Ananda Lima and Olena Jennings read their own poetry. Julian Kytasty played both traditional music and his new compositions inspired by Ukrainian poetry. Adrienne Kochman, director of UIMA and co-curator of the exhibition, cut the ribbon and invited the audience for a sneak preview of the TREADS exhibiton. 

See more on our Facebook:
Threads exhibition of textile art in Chicago: photos
Threads preparing exhibition in Chicago: photos
Threads book launch at UIMA: photos
Threads exhibition opening at UIMA: photos

The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art opened the THREADS Exhibit on Saturday, August 26. That afternoon Yara presented a second performancfe of poetry that inspired the exhibition. Virlana Tkacz read the English translation she did with Wanda Phipps of Serhiy Zhadan's "How Did We Build Our Homes?", to a packed audience. Then she screened a new video by Waldemart Klyuzko -- "Fresh Fish from Kyiv", a stroll down Kyiv's main street with an exhibition of the destroyed Russian tanks and weapons, while Yulian Kytasty played bandura. Then Olena Jennings read her poems and did Oksana Maksymchuk, a Ukrainian poet from Chicago. Finally, Ananda Lima read her work that inspired Isabella Lopez, who performed a piece wearing her art. The co-curators, Virlana Tkacz, Merino and Olena Jennings bid Adrienne Kochman farewell. The Threads exhibit is on till October 22, 2023.


bottom of page