Anya Wild, my alternate name, is a translation of my Ukrainian name, Dikareva, which literally means “wild cry,” or “feral cry.” My work channels the exuberance of wilderness, the unrestraint of life and an improvisational, immediate approach to material. Like weeds pushing up through concrete sidewalks, I sneak through cracks in ossified conventions and insert a nonsensical perspective, challenging the assumptions of civilized life.
As a Ukrainian refugee, my childhood was charged with the potential of environmental apocalypse, transience, communication conflicts, and cultural adaptation. My work now channels these experiences through wearable forms and performative actions. Props and wearable sculptures hybridize the human figure by emphasizing, restraining and directing body movements to exercise a nonverbal level of exchange, engaging our connection to the animal world.
I create wearables to invoke a vocabulary of archetypal actions as entry to basic human experiences, recognizing the body as common ground for all. These sculptures activate a journey of self-exploration and interaction with others by stimulating bodily awareness, extending and modifying the limits of the human figure. I invite participants to step into a different state of mind simply by wearing an object which can simulate a being from another time and world. Animating the public self, these sculptural costumes are a mode of exploring the boundaries where a person ‘ends’ and something else begins: the collective body.
My work has always been rooted in the inability of language to fully express my experience. I balance two worlds and two linguistic systems of understanding. I am aware of the limitations of translation and the ambiguity of words in different cultural contexts. As an artist, I utilize my ability to navigate the cusp between worlds and communicate in ways conventional language doesn't allow. I seek understanding beyond language and conscript craft traditions which span cultural rifts. By knitting, sewing and employing other fiber techniques in combination with repurposed materials, I fabricate sculptures that speak about our larger connection to each other and our surroundings. I uphold performance and play as worthy vehicles of insight into selfhood and contingency, while I also strive to accept and abstract aspects of historical tragedy and loss.