Soviet Postcard Art —
Anna Ostapivna Gorobievskaya (А.О. Горобийскауа)
GOROBIEVSKAYA, Anna Ostapivna (active 1980s) Graphic artist, Illustrator.
Anna Ostapivna Gorobievskaya is interesting, not least, for being a Ukrainian artist producing work under Soviet strictures. Born August 17, 1931, in Kyiv, she was a member of the Union of Artists of the USSR, and, since 1962 a member of the Union of Artists of Ukraine.
Her work is notable for her choice of depicting minority children (Ukrainians included) in their traditional dress, whether Tatar sheepskin coats or Chuchki leathers, simultaneously light-hearted and serious, as children can so often be.
Gorobievska was born to an artistic family based on Streletskaya Street in Kyiv's center. Her father, Ostap Demyanovich Gorobievsky, born in Lviv under Polish administration, had moved to Kyiv (~1926) as a member of the Polish Drama Studio. Artist Wanda Vasylevska, Anna's mother, also worked there. Under the Soviet administration then in power, the 1930s were a difficult time for artists working in any field. The activities of the theatre's staff soon drew negative attention, with periodic bans on performances, criticism in the press and removal of plays from the repertoire. This harassment escalated into the arrest of actors, including Gorobievska's parents. In 1933 they were accused of counter-revolutionary activities, belonging to the Polish military organization and arrested. Gorobievska's father was sentenced to three years in prison and sent to a camp near Lake Baikal, a sentence that was extended to four years, then five. In March 1938 he was shot.
Wanda Vasylewska managed to avoid further repressions from the Soviets. After the closure of the Polish Theater, she went to work at the Russian Drama Theater--until 1942, when the Germans invaded. Gorobievska (then 9 years of age), along with her mother, grandmother, and a group of other prisoners, was deported to work in Hungary. There, in 1944, young Gorobievska studied Hungarian and worked for some time as a translator for the commandant of the city of Mako. After Hungary came under Soviet control in 1944, the family moved to Boyarka near Kyiv, as their apartment on Streletskaya Street was occupied by other residents.
Despite the difficulties, Anna's mother Wanda continued to work as an artist. She began to paint batik scarves. Later she worked in an art artel, where she learned the technique of painting on silk. Later still, she participated in exhibitions in the USSR, even traveling abroad in the 1960s with her artworks --they were exhibited in several countries, including Canada.
In 1944, precious Gorobievska, barely a teenager and newly returned from Hungary, began working at the Kyiv Film Studio. In 1952-1958 she studied at the Kyiv Art Institute, where poster technique was taught by V. Kasiyan. Her second influential teacher was the outstanding graphic artist and painter M. Deregus. According to Gorobievskaya, it was Deregus who had the greatest influence on her work. With Deregus as her mentor, she began to participate in all-Ukrainian, all-Union and foreign exhibitions. In 1962 she graduated from the creative workshops of the USSR Academy of Arts in Kyiv (headed by Deregus).
In 1962 she married, and in 1964-1970 she worked under the name of her husband - Valyuga. Postcards issued during this period were credited "A. O. Valyuga". In 1966 a son was born in the family - Vyacheslav. In 1960 she began to receive orders for illustrations of the Ukrainian children's magazine "Barvinok" and sketches of postcards. Over time, the range of publications illustrated by Anna Ostapivna expanded: the magazines Malyatko and Pioneria were added to Barvinka. Gorobievskaya also created postcards published by the Art Publishing House. Anna Ostapivna worked at the Mystestvo publishing house until the 1980s.
Divorced in 1970, Gorobievskaya continued to live and work from the three room apartment she had received during her years at the Kyiv Academy. In later years her eyesight failed her and she suffered from ill-health, but was taken care of her family while continuing to live at home.
Her pictures are a testament to human resiliency.