Development of an Artist
Ihor Bozhko is a representative of the 1960th-70th, when he participated in several non-conformist exhibitions in Odesa apartments. His personal exhibition in the House of Actor authorized by the city government existed only one day and was instantly closed. This exhibition displayed a series of grotesque works: winter landscapes showing trees with cut branches, portraits of the contemporaries and self-portraits. Collectors of modern art purchased almost all the works of that period.
Ihor Bozhko’s creative work is diverse and often controversial. In 1970th his painting ‘August’ and several others were exhibited at the republican exhibitions, so the artist could become a member of the Union of Artists. At the same time Ihor Bozhko cooperates with a youth newspaper, writes art reviews and seriously engages in literature. Several books of his prose were published in the Soviet Union. Bozhkos literature works attracted attention of a Byelorussian writer Vasiliy Bykov who helped a literary artist from Odesa published his works in the ‘Smena’ journal. Bozhko became an awardee of this journal for his short story ‘Harmonica’. Ihor Bozhko was maintaining correspondence with Vasiliy Bykov for many years. By request of Belarus he has recently submitted copies of these letters for academy publications of Vasiliy Bykov’s works.
In several years Ihor Bozhko enters his cinema period. He participates in several films as an actor and writes movie scripts. Two of these scripts were screened, one of them by a world famous director Kira Muratova in her film ‘Three stories’ and another by Ihor Apasian in ‘Graffiti’. Nevertheless, the artist paints pictures all the while. He creates a number of wooden sculptures using everyday objects: a faucet in ‘Aquarius’ and a fork in ‘Harvesting’. Later a famous gallery owner Anatoliy Dymchuk bought all his sculptures.
The cinema period is replaced by the theater period. Bozhko writes plays presented at international theatre festival and in Odesa theatres. The National Artist Semen Krupnyk played his last role in ‘A Day of Silence’. The artist doesn’t abandon fine art even during his theater period. His abstract painting ‘Planets’ is displayed in many exhibitions. A famous abstract artist from Odesa Volodymyr Tsiupko once said that he was keeping a close eye on world trends in abstract art, but he had never encountered such original effects of light.
Ihor Bozhko said if he had to choose his profession once again, he would become a composer. He writes music for six-string guitar, and a famous guitar player Yuriy Niprokin performs it both in Ukraine and on music festivals abroad.
Bozhko is a keen public activist too. In 1980th he was elected a head of an artistic union, and later he chaired ‘Choven’ artistic group uniting many prominent artist from Odesa and Odesa region. A big exhibition of this group took place in the Museum of Western and Eastern Arts in 1994, sparking public outcry. At present Bozhko is a member of ‘Mamai’ artistic group famous in Ukraine and abroad.
Odesa branch of the National Society of Artists nominated Ihor Bozhko for the title of distinguished artist five years ago. Later the National Society of Artists approved this nomination, but Bozhko refused to get award from the person who was presiding the country at that time. Ihor Bozhko’s paintings are kept in the National Museum of Arts in Kyiv and in a number of other Ukrainian museums.
Leading research associate
Odesa Literature Museum