Petro Sydorenko, Artist

I’d never heard of Petro Syderenko, but the self-portrait caught my eye/heart, and I thought his story, in his obituary, alas, was remarkable (please read it), of how the spirit survives under brutal regimes and horrendous conditions, longing for freedom.

Plus he’s a relatively unknown artist named Petro, and I have an affinity for relatively unknown artists named Petro.

The obituary reminded me of having read somewhere, someone asked Northrop Frye: “Can the Arts make you a better person?” I loved Frye’s response: “No. Wanting to be a better person makes you a better person. If you want that, the Arts can help.”

As Noam Chomsky said—who often speaks of creativity as a fundamental aspect and necessity of a human being:

A look at history and a perception of what we see does I think lend some credibility to a traditional view coming out of the Enlightenment which says that fundamental to human nature is a kind of instinct for freedom.

And I think we see plenty of examples of it; people struggling all over the world for freedom.

They don’t like to be oppressed.

May we all paint, write, dream, poeticize, act in ways that increase freedom and creativity, remembering the inconceivability and the absolute obviousness of our oneness, and our individuality. And may we remember to love each other, and try, try, try to remember to love each other, with joy.

Petro xox


4 Responses to “Petro Sydorenko, Artist”

  1. Wasyl Sydorenko says:

    Thanks for the kind words.
    The Sydorenko Family

  2. philip mccormack says:

    Loved the depth of Petro’s self-painting. Eyes that not only see they absorb even though it’s a canvas the desire for life burns. Philip

  3. It is indeed a compelling self-portrait; gentle, it seems, but having seen so much.

    To the Sydorenko family: it was my joy to write a little about a man who survived so much, and kept painting, and had a family. Love and healing to you and yours,


    If there is a link on line to any of Petro’s paintings, I’d love to see them.

  4. Pawlina says:

    If you’re interested, there’s a good article about him here written while he was still alive.

    I haven’t seen any of his work either, but from the description in the Star article of his painting “Karl Marx Street, Kryvyi Rih: Great Famine in Ukraine, 1932-1933″ it sounds like he was a brilliant artist.

    It’s sad to think how many more artists perished under that brutal system, and how different our world might be today if that slaughter hadn’t happened.

    Kind of explains, tho, why survivors never wanted to talk about it. Who’d want to remember such horror? Especially when few believed them anyway (and many still don’t).

    Anyway, it was nice of you to write this post. Condolences to the Sydorenko family.

    Vichnaya pam’yat! (May his memory live eternal.)

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