Belief in the magical features of animals is one of the primary religious concepts in the history of mankind. A kin tightly bound its life to a totem animal as a primal ancestor. However, attitudes toward totem animals varied. Some people strictly forbade to hunt them, while for others it was the other way around: the meat of the animal was ritually eaten to gain the power of the sacred beast.
Many thousands of years ago, the first images of animals of a sacred nature appeared in art. Thus the so called animal style was born. Over time, humanity has matured, and relationships with animals have changed. But the image of an animal, a bird, a fish has always excited people - we come across them on temple walls, in heraldry, they decorate ordinary household items. They accompany us to this day... Animal gods inhabited the pantheons of ancient civilizations.
So who are they, these modern animal gods? How do we perceive them now? They are animals that live next to us or used to live on earth long before us. Or those that never lived in the real world, but that we see in our dreams or fantasies, even mention in prayers. From time immemorial, we, humans, never wanted to be alone in this world. So we turned to animals that lived next to us, for support, for strength, finally, to find rivals in them, to win and to assert ourselves. Animals were prey: their meat nourished, their fur warmed, and their bones were used to build dwellings. Later, humans tamed some animals, learned to coexist with them, to understand them. Animal gods changed - they got human facial features or body parts. Thanks to science, we now know a lot about animals - about their habits, characters, or the benefit we can get from them. And yet they still have a certain mysterious power - and we keep it to ourselves. We believe that animals have characters, we communicate with them. Sometimes we fear them, sometimes we trust them, we are friends with them, we love them. Sometimes we serve them.
The animal gods in our exposition are different - they are real, semi-real, or absolutely imaginary. They were created by modern artists in different styles and techniques, embodied in different materials - at a distance of thousands of years from those ancient, hairy and somewhat wild ancestors, who painted their masterpieces on cave walls. Yet we and our cave peers share an idea that they, animals, are truly gods.
Each portrait of the Animal God presented in the exhibition is, to a certain extent, a self-portrait of the artist: the memory of generations that subconsciously lives in us transformed through the prism of the artist's individuality.
The exposition consists of two parts, each presents the works of contemporary Ukrainian artists and sculptors, made in different techniques and by different means - works of art by contemporary artists. Paintings of Ukrainian artists and sculptures of Ukrainian artists depict portraits of the Beast Gods, which to some extent are also self-portraits of the artists who created them. The memory of the generations that subconsciously live in us has been transformed through the prism of the artist's individuality.