To you, madonna...

Irуna Akimova is a Ukrainian artist, a representative of contemporary figurative art. She was born in Kharkov. Graduated from Kharkov State University, PhD in Economics, Ass. Professor. Director of the Analytical Center "New Social and Economic Policy". Taught and conducted research in Ukrainian and international scientific centers. Has a great experience in politics. At the same time, she was successfully engaged in painting. Participated in collective art exhibitions in Ukrainian art galleries and museums. Had personal exhibitions in 2016 and 2017. Her works are in private Ukrainian and European collections. She is the leader of public organization "Ukrainian Association of Feminine Research in Art (UAFRA), which she founded in 2016.

In the polyptych "The Prayer", Iryna Akimova continues her work on the topic of constructive compromise as a way to solve the complex conflicts of the modern time, and on the role of women in this process. The main idea of the polyptych is an appeal to the society to protect our future from military tragedies and fatal consequences of the sociopolitical contradictions. In the center of the composition there is a portrait of a young girl, Ukrainian Madonna, that symbolizes femininity and maternity. The colors of this portrait ( unlike the other parts of the polyptych) are bright and light . The blessing of Madonna is in her smile, which is full of hope, confidence and optimism. The future grows from the present and requires care and protection.

Eight psychological sketches surround the central portrait and reveal the story about risks and pains of the modern era. War, poverty, greed, hypocrisy and intolerance, as mortal sins, surround the image of Madonna. Each story has its own philosophical subtext. Black smoke of fire on the barricades ("Black angel of the barricades"), and the glare of the sun on the gun remind of true defenders of the Fatherland. But the price of social upheavals is very high. Dark female silhouettes on the background of the road ("Night waiting") radiate the uncertainty of expectations. Will their husbands and betrothed come back home? Through the window glass that is broken by a bullet we see the ruins of the church. How many human tragedies are buried there? Heroes and victims are inseparable. Let the sacrifices not be in vain. Let us build our future without victims.

The psychological drama of images and stories is supported by general gray-white color of the works and graphic (silhouette) lines, that merge together in a uniform composition with attractive contrasting accents and combinations of dynamism and calmness. Human figures depicted as graphically-contrasting planes, are clearly set against the background of canvases. In this way the author achieves the monumentality of the composition, while the silhouette modeling of the forms adds an emotional tension.

The old woman on the stairs with a begging hand ( “The shame of alms”) is a symbol for our Madonna’s future , for our own future, if the world is ruled by greed ("Wolves"), intolerance ("Pieces of History ") and hypocrisy ("People without a face"). The frame with the outlines of the cross around the portrait of the Ukrainian Madonna hints at her vulnerability and potential sacrifices, which might be necessary unless the society finds a peaceful solution ( constructive compromise) for the on-going conflicts. Why is the Madonna smiling? She believes that together we are able to regain harmony and move forward.

The author combines the artistic images with a poetic appeal of the prayer. Who prays to God for protecting our Madonna and our future? The author ? The viewer? Or the Madonna herself? Hopefully, this prayer unites the author's and spectators’ perceptions around the eternal and frantic search for peace and harmony. This polyptych invites to the dialogue, inspires personal memories about social problems and the ways out.

The Prayer


Keep my Madonna, God,

From suffering and misfortunes.

Let all the troubles pass Her :

The ashes on the shards of ice,

The black angel of the barricades,

The rockfall of hate,

The bitterness of the Pyrrhic victories,

That left a bloody trail,

The numb hand

On the gun trigger,

The waiting in the night,

And the funeral smoke of a candle…


Keep my Madonna, God,

From suffering and misfortunes.

Save Her from the fate

Of sitting with a begging hand,

And praying  for the sons’ lives,

In the ruined churches,

Searching  for the pieces of history

In the splinters of the commemorative plaques,

Changing  traditions and language,

And forgetting what we are used to.


Keep my Madonna, God,

From friends and from enemies,

From convinced fools,

And from obedient fists,

From foreigh wisdom,

From men without  faces,

From wolves of different colors

That tear everything apart.


Keep my Madonna, God,

From suffering and anxiety…

Let Her walk peacefully along Her earthly path ,

Hear, understand and protect Her...

Copyright © Akimova Art, 2021