Born in Kyiv, Ukraine, Antonina Melnyk graduated from Kyiv National University of Technology and Design and studied contemporary art in Kyiv and St. Petersburg from 2014-15. In 2015 she co-founded the Shvemy sewing cooperative (Kyiv – St. Petersburg) and remains a participating member; in 2016 she also joined the ReSew sewing cooperative (Kyiv).
An artist, feminist, and grassroots activist, Antonina works with textiles and clothing, and also engages in theatrical activities and performance. The main topics of her artist work are non-alienated, fairly-priced labour, the alternative economy as a way of overcoming exploitation mainly of women, different types of discriminations and ways of overcoming it. Recently, she has begun to explore the idea of rethinking and re-appropriating cultural, historical and social traditions.
During the residency, Antonina and fellow artist Mariia Lukianova were planning to acquaint themselves with the social and cultural environment of the country and city. They were particularly interested in artists and art groups that work with social and political topics, grassroots and self-organized left-wing feminist initiatives, organizations dealing with minority issues and groups subjected to discrimination, and with members of such groups. Since the two artists’ specialization is clothing, textiles and craftwork, they intended to hold interactive workshops on recycling (resewing) garments, “sewing meditative practices” in public spaces, and workshops on creating activist attributes for specific actions or everyday resistance.