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Ola Rondiak’s paintings stem from her family’s experiences living in Ukraine during the historical events of WWII, Stalin’s Iron Curtain, the Orange Revolution, and the Revolution of Dignity in 2014. In the fall of 2004, the Orange Revolution signaled the emergence of a new civic movement as a political resistance group banded together against the ruling class’ fraudulent election processes. Abrasive weather failed to block these determined Ukrainians as they staged a nationwide, nonviolent protest, now known as the Orange Revolution. These events shaped Ola Rondiak’s worldview. Emotional experiences surface in her paintings as family history intertwines with Ukrainian history and tradition. Using acrylics, collage, and mixed media, Rondiak’s iconographic portraitures of women depicts a “determined and indomitable spirit.” Bold lines and patterns interrupt the surface texture. Contrasting shapes intersect with text and color. Often referred to as “Pop Art” or “folklore,” her work recalls the icons of the Byzantine period where the imperial proliferation of saints and the figure of the Virgin Mary lined basilica walls, retables, iconostases, and altarpieces. The female image loomed large, and for Ola Rondiak, the female portrait underpins the terrain for truth and dignity on her canvases.
Rondiak earned her BS degree at Hunter College and later her M.Ed when she worked as a psychotherapist. Her work has been featured in group and solo exhibitions, most recently at Embassies in Kyiv, Munich, and Berlin, as well as Ukrainian National Museums in Cleveland and Chicago. Rondiak also painted a mural in the historic district of Kyiv, Ukraine, as part of Kyiv’s Street Art explosion.