Street Artist Mata Ruda paints ‘Berehynia’ in Kiev, Ukraine 2016

Street artist Mata Ruda has just finished painting his mural in Kiev, Ukraine for the Art United Us project. Art United Us project unites two hundred artists through mural art and the promulgation of maintaining peace on Earth, and is curated by Geo Leros, Iryna Kanishcheva and Waone Interesni Kazki.

Mata Ruda wall is called “Protectress”. It is a healing representation of Berehynia, a female spirit in Slavic mythology, which recently came to be regarded as a “Slavic goddess”.

Since Ukrainian independence in 1991, Berehynia has undergone a fakeloric metamorphosis, and today is identified as a combination of the “hearth-mother”,associated with the guardianship of the nation itself, and the rusalka.

The re-interpretation as “protectoress” is due to a folk-etymology, which originates bereh (Ukrainian) or bereg (Russian) meaning a river bank, while the word berehty (Ukrainian) or berech’ (Russian) is a verb that means to protect.

In 2001, a column with a monument to Berehynia on top, as a protector of Kiev, was erected at Maidan Nezalezhnosti, Independence Square, in the city centre, where the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution took place. Mata Ruda latest mural is also located in this very powerful site.

Mata Ruda paints a female representing Berehynia, she is an immigrant woman from Azerbaijan. Surrounding her physically and spiritually are sunflowers, the national flower, in a Ukrainian traditional floral woven scarf.

Photos courtesy of Geo Leros.

Check back to for more murals in Kiev for Art United Us soon…




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