Vagina (from Latin for Sheath), 2019, Graphite and colored pencil on paper, 16.5 x 11.75'
Dana Kavelina works with animation and video, as well as drawing, installation, and painting. Her most recent video, Letter to a Turtle Dove (2020) was acquired by the MoMa and was on display at Signals: How Videos Transformed the World. Her works often address military violence and war, seen from gender perspective – especially with regard to the position of a victim as a political subject – as well as the distance between historical and individual trauma, and memory and misrepresentation.
Kavelina’s drawing series Exit to the Blind Spot was created for the War in the Museum exhibition at the Kmytiv Museum of Soviet Art. The exhibition placed Soviet images of victory in WW2, depicted in Soviet paintings from various time periods, in dialogue with contemporary Ukrainian feminist artists. Kavelina’s drawings were placed between large, monumental Soviet paintings in a play of scale where her works appeared small and fragile.
“Drawings give a different perspective on Victory: ‘Every war is a war against women.’ A rape of a woman by the military is the reverse, shameful side of Victory and Feats. The drawings seek to bring back visibility and voice to those who were the victims of rape and then were silenced and wiped out of history to preserve its heroic character. Any ‘Winner’s Story’ is glued together by woman bloody lingerie.” – Dana Kavelina