Ukrainian artist currently exhibiting in Dubai aims to spread positivity and energy through artworks

Anna Chekh's latest exhibition, 'The Shadow Man', is running in Jumeirah till February 23

by Enid Grace Parker

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram


Published: Wed 1 Feb 2023, 1:15 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Feb 2023, 3:33 PM

Ukrainian contemporary artist Anna Chekh aims to bring a sense of positivity and a restoration of energy to the world through her artworks, that blend contemporary surrealism with expressionism and delve into social topics through cartoonish figures.

Her paintings have been displayed in Dubai, Tokyo and Barcelona, and included in international galleries and private collections in USA, Germany, Italy and Ukraine.

Currently based in Thailand, Anna is a frequent visitor to Dubai and has an exhibition called ‘The Shadow Man’ running at Roasters Speciality Coffee House in Jumeirah till February 23, presented by Skaya Art Agency.

With her colourful works showcased in a cafe setting, Anna hopes visitors enjoy a multi-sensory experience as they partake of beverages and bites whilst browsing her collection - which will surely give them some food for thought.

We caught up with Anna to talk about her latest collection, her thoughts on Dubai's flourishing art scene and the raging debate on AI art.

‘The Shadow Man’ is a collection of vibrant art that features a faceless (shadow) man. What inspired this faceless figure in your work and what message do you wish to convey through it?

Our current time and social environment inspired me to create a character that aligns with modern behavioural patterns. The 'Shadow Man' is the image of the present-day generation. He is a faceless person whose desire is to experience everything by being in the thick of it whilst remaining in the shadows. You can easily find him, yet he is difficult to recognize.

If you have social networks that have nothing to do with physical reality - everyone considers you to be normal. In this regard, you are a shadow man, which means you are multi-dimensional. We have all become digital entities in a world where reality has ceased to be fashionable. 'Virtuality' is what most people want. Anonymity is what there is a request for. Giving up your identity is important, but not necessary. You can convert your anonymity into success, or you can hide all the most intimate things in it. People hide, or keep only the most important things to themselves.

How often do you visit Dubai and what are your thoughts on the art and cultural scene here?

I have many projects and activities in Dubai with galleries, art fairs and brand collaborations, so I try to visit as much as possible. Currently, I visit Dubai approximately once every three months, because of my busy schedule - working in my studio in Thailand, and preparing for upcoming art shows in Asia, Europe and the USA.

I would love to visit Dubai more often! I like the city for its large scale, and mainly for its modern appeal with advanced technology, innovation, networking opportunities and amazing investment potential. You can see the city rapidly developing before your own eyes! I also respect Emirati culture and admire its history and roots which are passed between generations. It has a very strong foundation for an influential Arab society.

'The Shadow Man' exhibition is tagged as a multi-sensory experience of taste and sight. Do you feel this unique aspect will draw more patrons?

Absolutely! The connection between different perceptions is not new; however, the combination of flavours and art has a sense of novelty. Even from a scientific viewpoint, it will be a new experience - an indulgence of several senses with delicious food and meaningful art.

What are the mediums you use for your work, and which do you prefer?

I have no boundaries at all for my art mediums. It can be acrylic, eco-plastic, 3D printing or mapping. It depends on the final goal I want to achieve. Contemporary art uses a wide array of mediums nowadays.

Who are the international artists that have had an influence on your work?

Takashi Murakami. When I first saw his works, the most impressive takeaway for me was his bright and positive images.

You do live performances as well. Tell us more about them.

I try to show important societal topics through vivid and sometimes fun characters for the audience. Most of these stories are about people. But I prefer not to demonstrate it directly and instead show my messages through my art characters.

Also, I like to provide practical and interactive experiences. For example, in my debut exhibition in Dubai, guests could create their own digital art using my palette and patterns. During the opening evening of that exhibition, the public created 90 digital artworks.

Can you tell us how you got into art? Are you self-taught or have you had professional training?

I’ve been exposed to art since childhood. I went to art school for a long time and took part in many competitions. After graduating from university there was a brief pause as I kickstarted a career in advertising and public relations. Nevertheless, I learned some great skills from it, and returned to the world of contemporary art with new ideas.

Art’s creative process has always fascinated me. When I’m creating art, I feel relieved and relaxed. Currently, I train 2-3 times a week by watching art tutorials, exploring different programs for digital art and checking the news in Web 3.0. In my opinion, artists must upskill often because they are responsible for communicating important messages to society in a rapidly developing world.

Do you travel a lot and does that inspire your creativity as well?

Yes, absolutely! I’ve already visited nearly 20 countries. All that I’ve seen is part of my invaluable visual experience which I reproduce in my artworks. For example, Dubai inspired me to integrate horses into my art and its city scale influenced me to create big canvases. On the other hand, Thailand gave me a love of natural shapes.

How has your creative journey been so far?

I’m happy to say that it is developing as we speak. According to my goals, I have passed the first stage. Like all artists, I want to find my exact place in art and provide the maximum benefit to society, especially in our current ambiguous time.

There’s been a lot of debate about Artificial Intelligence (AI) art recently, and questions have been raised as to whether it will affect true creativity and originality. What do you think?

Definitely art by AI isn't real art. Real art makes you think, AI doesn't. You cannot grasp deep sense and philosophy through a soulless image which was created from random algorithms by AI.

However, I can't say that AI is completely useless. For me, AI is a quick and simple way of visualizing art concepts. It’s like your idea's road map and is only a basis for the next steps of real art. Real art is relevant and will be - no matter what. Evoking real senses from real art is still important for people to experience the world. If not, let's all turn into cyborgs!

Enid Grace Parker

More news from Entertainment