Galina Shevchenko

Galina Shevchenko is a Moscow born, Chicago based multimedia artist, she joined CAD in May of 2012 to have a new platform for exhibiting and curatorial explorations. Galina’ s work has been shown at numerous venues nationally and internationally, including international Art Fairs in Miami and Chicago, Berlin’s Director’s Lounge Video Festival, New York’s Red Shift Film Festival, Chicago’s Motion Graphics Festival, Media ART LAB segment of Moscow International Film Festival, where her work took a second Prize in 2007; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago and numerous Chicago Art galleries. Galina’s visual language coexists across her live video performance, animation, video installation and immersive video environments that she creates for art galleries, theatrical happenings, and multimedia festivals. She loves to combine vernacular visual elements with archetypical and cultural icons creating exquisite combinations of high and pop, classical and postmodern. Whether it is a video, a painting, an animation or a design object, Galina’s work is baroque and provocative, it teases &questions, seduces & demands… ultimately it is a delicious visual treat.


Unkissed & Non Conforming ( Featured in Animating the New Hero exhibition)  is a conflation of my animation & embroidery projects dealing with the issues of heroism in the context of war in Russia. Through this exploration I am attempting to channel the two paradigms of heroism.

My original submission for Animating the new Hero was a project dedicated to WWII Soviet women fighter pilots. My animations and embroideries  of the  Unkissed are based on the photo archive of Unkissed Regiments. These were the three WWII regiments comprised of all-female fighter pilots. The Soviet women fighter pilots operated specific bomber airplanes that men would refuse to fly as they were too bulky or outdated…  The night bombers, Plikarpov Po-2 airplanes, were soundless and extremely precise, but they were easy targets id discovered by the German projectors.  Fascists nicknamed the night bomber regiments “Night Witches” and were terrified by them. The 125th Guards Dive Bomber Regiment used heavy and bulky  PE2 dive bombers.  The fighter regiment 586th operated Yak 1 airplanes. Fragility and strength, valor and bravery, super human effort and fearlessness characterized these 18-22 year old girls of the so called “unkissed regiments”. Most of them did not survive  but their photographic archive  has been preserved and is currently available online. I based my drawings, animations and embroideries on the existing photos.

In the context of the current Russian war, the new paradigms of heroism have emerged.  If a  traditional hero is assumed to possess superhuman powers, surpassing the efforts of humanity, just like the  WWII fragile  and “unkissed” maidens, a  hero of the new war is attempting to sustain her humanity.

The new reality of war in Russia prompted new definition of heroism that appeals to the fundamentals of humanity: someone who refuses to participate in “The Special Military Operation”. Someone who is Non-Conforming.   Another pivotal protagonist of this war is the “mother”, the mother of the solder that refuses a “heroic” title, refuses to sacrifice a son. Refusal to be a “superhuman”, appeal to remain human; becomes an act of new heroism.  The new heroes are elusive, their identities cannot be revealed. We just know that they exist or we hope to believe that they do.

Unkissed & Non Conforming is conflating the two paradigms of superhumanity and humanity, two paradigms of heroism:  concrete superhumanity of the female WWII fighter pilots and symbolic humanity of imaginary Madonnas of today, refusing the sacrifice.