Oleg Lavriv

Miniatures and Acrylics by Oleg Lavriv

I am a Ukrainian from Bosnia enrolled in a Master’s of Community Engagement at the University of Alberta with no formal artistic training. Instead, my work focuses on community narratives. I paint on recycled cabinet doors using acrylic pouring medium and sculpt fantasy miniatures using natural clay. My work embodies communal narratives, weather through a Bosnian coffee ground fortune-telling symbology in my paintings, or through bringing elements of collective storytelling to life with clay.

Each of my paintings is a subjective experience from which I interpret traditional Bosnian symbols, figures and attributed meanings in order to contribute to a conversation about the narrative being portrayed. This method is based on years of inter-generational experience in building relationships through drinking coffee and interpreting the fortune left in grinds on the bottom of the cups. The clay sculptures I make are a response to our society’s increased reliance on standardized and mass-produced plastic products meant to fill the voids of our imaginations. In role-playing games, a wide variety of unique and highly personalized characters are created and serve to build a story telling community. The space occupied by these characters tends to be incarnated by generic and prefabricated plastic pieces that impose their appearance onto the story being told. I offer completely customized pieces shaped by the existing collective story in order to better support it.

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