The power of fragility: the return of Olga Rapai’s ceramic panels

The long-term project of finding, researching and restoring the interior panels of sculptor-ceramist Olga Rapai, which were previously considered lost, is organized in two actions. Act one – POWER OF SUPPORT – a series of ceramic coats of arms of Kyiv’s sister cities. Our capital, despite the war, celebrates its anniversary in the circle of old and new friends, always feeling their support.

Back in 1961, Kyiv joined the global sister cities movement. The first sister cities of the Ukrainian capital were the Polish Krakow and the Finnish Tampere, later they were joined by the German Leipzig, the capital of Slovakia Bratislava and the beautiful Italian Florence, and a few years later the French Toulouse and the Japanese Kyoto. Ceramic coats of arms of these cities will appear before visitors.

A monumental naive in the second act of the project – POWER OF ROOTS. Olga Rapai’s partially mythologized, partially childish and idealized view of our historical roots. Generalized medieval images emerge from nothingness

and oblivion. The combination of deceptive artistic simplicity and technical complexity of execution is the author’s calling card. The process of research, restoration and conservation of the lost wall panels of Olga Rapai lasted a year. POWER OF FRAGILITY is a kind of report on research and restoration work. And also an attempt to show how fruitful an initiative can be for the preservation of cultural heritage, when someone who cares takes responsibility to collect and restore carelessly destroyed and forgotten things.

Within the scope of the project, lectures, master classes for children and adults on sculpting, embroidery and restoration, discussion of the preservation of cultural heritage during the war in a professional environment are planned.


When: May 25 – August 25

Where: National Museum of the Ukrainian People

decorative arts

Kyiv, str. Lavrska, 9


Project partners:

NGO “Culture and Heritage of Ukraine”

Association of art critics, experts, appraisers

and restorers

Olga Rapai-Markish Foundation

“Spirit and Letter” Publishing House

“Antiquarian” magazine

National Award “Treasure of the Nation”


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