Ukraine Heritage Spotlight: Vyshyvanka – Ukrainian embroidered activism

‘Ukraine Heritage Spotlight’ is a series of podcasts on saving Ukraine’s cultural heritage from the Europa Nostra Heritage Hub in Kraków.

Hosted by Dr Katarzyna Jagodzińska, Head of the Europa Nostra Heritage Hub in Krakow, and John Beauchamp from Free Range Productions.

Vyshyvanka is traditional Ukrainian embroidery. Its colourful patterns on shirts and other garments are more than just about beauty and high craftsmanship skills, however. In this feature episode, we explore how vyshyvankas have now taken on a deeper symbolism.

Vyshyvankas have always had a symbolic meaning, referring to prosperity, luck and protection. Now, at a time of war with Russia, vyshyvankas have gained an even deeper symbolism – they signify the continuation of Ukrainian culture in the face of destruction of cultural heritage.

Ukrainians believe that vyshyvankas have a magical power, and take vyshyvankas with them as a token of protection. Similarly, soldiers have gone to war with the embroidered shirts. The war introduced new military textiles and patterns – alongside geometrical and floral ornaments, patterns of tanks, drones and bombs have also started to appear.

Our guide through the meaning and value of vyshyvanka, Ukraine’s treasured intangible heritage, is Dr Lesia Voroniuk, head of the NGO World Vyshyvanka Day and co-creator of the Museum of Ukrainian Embroidered Shirts in Chernivtsi. The World Vyshyvanka Day received the European Heritage Award | Europa Nostra Award 2022, which in turn expanded its impact throughout Europe.

Heritage Preservation, Inclusion & Accessibility, International Cultural Relations
Europa Nostra Heritage Hub in Kraków
Katarzyna Jagodzińska, John Beauchamp
Central and Eastern Europe, European Cultural Heritage, Heritage Protection, Awareness, Cultural Heritage, Civil Society, Ukraine Heritage Spotlight, Ukraine, Conflicts, War, Art, Intangible Cultural Heritage, Europa Nostra Awards, European Heritage Awards, Craftsmanship, Creativity, Traditions
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