The art of Master potters and ceramicist Ivan Boibkov represents “the unity of the indigenous peoples of Ukraine–Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians.” Marina specializes in Crimean Tatar ornek, a traditional form of ornamentation that embellishes various items of everyday life and worship–clothes, fabrics, jewelry, architectural objects, furniture, and even tombstones. Ivan’s traditional pottery is adorned with fantastic beasts and flower-like forms and is regularly used as tableware, in rituals, and as interior decoration.
Products, made of terra cotta or Ukrainian clay, are created on a potter’s wheel then engraved or hand-painted with glaze or engobe. Engobe is a specialty in Ukranian pottery as the land holds deep deposits of high-quality red, red-brown, and light grey clays. Ornek ornamentation, in addition to its artistic and aesthetic value, is encoded with magical content and symbolism to protect against evil forces.
In May of 1944, Stalin ordered the deportation of Crimean Tatars from their homeland, an act of ethnic cleansing that affected hundreds of thousands–mostly women, children and elderly. This action resulted in the loss of traditional arts knowledge the revival of which–including jewelry, pottery, weaving and embroidery–began in the early 1990s. In 2008, Ornek ornament art was included on the National List of Elements of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Ukraine. As masters of their crafts both artists have exhibited widely throughout Europe, both in solo exhibitions and as part of international festivals.