Mass Art or Art for the Masses: Street art in Kharkiv

Keywords: street art, murals, graffiti, Kharkiv


The article is devoted to one of the directions of the art of post-modernism - street art, which became widespread in Kharkiv at the turn of the 20th - 21st centuries. This type of modern art quickly won the sympathy of city residents and found its supporters in a large group of young innovative artists (both professionals and amateurs, both individual authors and creative teams) who work in this style. The creation of murals quickly transformed from spontaneous work to managed by the city government, which supported this kind of change in urban decor. Kharkiv street art has come a long way in its formation: from the mysterious inscriptions of Oleg Mitasov to Ukraine’s largest mural depiction of the poet Taras Shevchenko. The article highlights the procedure for creating a mural image. At the turn of the XX-XXI centuries the first mural portraits in Kharkiv were created spontaneously, outside of any general urban development plan. In recent years, first, the city architectural department, and then the Department of Culture of the Kharkiv City Council, took control of such works and such activities became more focused and planned. Artists come to the Department of Urban Planning and Architecture of the Kharkiv City Council with the initiative to create a mural on a particular house and provide its sketch. That is, the artists themselves choose the image that will be created. In order for such an image to be created, it is first necessary to coordinate this issue with the owners of the house on which the image is planned to be placed. At the same time, a problem arises as to who will support the drawing after its creation, because the money for its possible restoration by the city budget is not provided, and some of the murals already need updating. The most characteristic examples of this art in Kharkiv are considered, several of its types are distinguished. It is concluded that, in general, street art positively influenced the appearance of the city, which became more vivid and filled with new meanings and content. It is noted that murals and graffiti perform not only a decorative, but also a cultural and educational role. The main characters of Kharkiv murals are natives of the city and prominent figures who have made a significant contribution to world art, science and literature.


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How to Cite
Yankul, O. M. (2020). Mass Art or Art for the Masses: Street art in Kharkiv. The Journal of V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Series: History, (57), 316-330.