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A Zaporizhyan Cossack in life and in his art


The funeral took place today in Ivano-Frankivsk of the artist, laureate of the Shevchenko State Award and former political prisoner Opanas Zalyvakha.

Opanas Zalyvakha, born in the Kharkiv region, was only 8 years old when his family fled death by starvation during Holodomor [the Famine of 1932-1933].  The artist was never able to forget the horror of that time. He considered bread to be both physical and spiritual sustenance and was convinced that one needed to eat at least a small piece of this Godly product each day.

His work as an artist was banned for decades. One of the Shestydesyatnyky, the people who created the foundation for national independence, his closest friends were Vasyl Stus, Ivan Svitlychny, Yevhen Sverstyuk, Alla Horska and others.

A Zaporizhyan Cossack in life and in his art

He served his sentence [for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”] in the Mordovan Political Labour Camps with the well-known political and civic figure Bohdan Horyn.

At the funeral, pan Horyn said: “For Ukraine the death of Opanas Zalyvakha is a double loss. He was a great artist and a great citizen, a great Ukrainian and patriot who all his conscious life lived for Ukraine”.

These words were reiterated by a close friend and former political prisoner Orest Deichakivsky: “In speaking of Opanas Zalyvakha one can cite the words Shevchenko wrote of his own fate:

“We were not dishonest with you

We carried no seeds of untruth,

We travelled a straight road …”

These words were carried into the twentieth century by Opanas Zalyvakha. They apply totally to his life and to his fate.”

Throughout his creative life, Opanas Zalyvakha was the author of thousands of artist works. It is not for nothing that for his courage and enlightenment he was called a Zaporizhyan Cossack in life and in art.  He was an artist who radiated light on all those around him. He was particularly popular with young people to whom he in turn gave his artistry, knowledge and warmth.

A number of civic and political figures and friends from the labour camps came to Ivano-Frankivsk today to bid a last farewell to Opanas Zalyvakha. His grave lies on the outskirts of Ivano-Frankivsk in the Cemetery at Demyaniv Laz, near the Church built in memory of Halychans murdered by the NKVD in 1941.

For more details about Zalyvakha’s life, please see or the links below.

Based on material from and .

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