Maryna Shtanko

Of Water and Stone

Last winter I read a book about molfars – people in the Carpathians who possess supernatural powers. The author of the book wrote a lot about the connections between different cultures. Years ago people used to believe in the same things even though Ukrainians had no communication, for example, with people in South America or Scandinavian countries. I felt the same connection with Ukraine while staying in Verzasca valley, Switzerland.

On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and I had to move abroad. Being far from my home I still noticed something that connected me to Ukraine. Fern plants in the valley reminded me of the Slavic myth, according to which the fern flower blooms for a very short time on the eve of the summer solstice. It brings fortune to the person who finds it. Then there are mountains that reminded me of the Carpathians. And there is the red thread that reminded me of Ukrainian embroidery and sewed these places together.

About the Artist

Artist Website

Maryna Shtanko is a photographer from Kharkiv, Ukraine (b.1992). After Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, she had to flee her homeland and move to Germany. Maryna has a Master’s degree in German Language & Literature (2014). She completed several photography courses at Chekachkov Photo Academy (2016-2019). She was shortlisted for the reStart’22 exhibition organized by Lithuanian Photographers Association (2022) and was included in the list of Female Ukrainian Photographers in frames of Odesa Photo Days (2021). In her projects, Maryna works with such concepts as freedom, phobias, and self-identity. She often works with analog and archival photography, and experiments with text, painting techniques, and embroidery. Maryna’s work has been exhibited in Ukraine, Switzerland, Austria, Israel, Lithuania, Germany, Italy, and Slovenia.