Engaged Feminist Maker

Art, Fashion, Theory

Artist Statement

The personal is political. Foucault suggests that parrhesia is an intrinsic part of politics. He developed the concept of parrhesia as a mode of discourse in which one speaks openly and truthfully about one's opinions and ideas without the use of rhetoric, manipulation, or generalization. The courage to speak the truth always demands a questioning of one’s motives and actions and establishes a polemic relationship with the World.

Out of my lived experience two strategies emerge that form my parrhesiastic practice: performance and feminist activism. In performance the artwork is the artist, and the performance is an act of life. It allows me to express my truth. While feminism establishes the importance of grounding in subjectivity from which I speak as a woman.

My work resonates in the aesthetic tradition of dirty realism by amplifying mundane and bare life. This manifests in the choice for simplified setting, no make-up and everyday objects. Through these aesthetic choices I protest against glamour and beauty standards. I use dirty realism as a tool to destroy beauty.

As a woman, I have a subjective point of view. As an engaged feminist maker I am interested in this subjectivity as the means of critique. I extrapolate existential tension points within my socio-cultural environment and project them on my body to create confrontational art. I use my body because it is governed by social constructions that attempt to regulate my identity and should be deconstructed and questioned in order to transform them.

Through my performalist self-portraits I explore the phenomenology of identity production. I create ambiguous content to grab the spectator’s attention with the goal to provoke an associational thought process. This allows me to create an engaged female identity that is a reflexive actor in stead of an object in art.

Yelena Myshko

Bag Lady, 2016


Yelena Myshko

Born in 1985 in Kyiv, Ukraine
Based in Arnhem, the Netherlands


2017-2018 MSSc Gender Studies Intersectionality and Change
Linköping University, Sweden

2013-2017 MA Fashion Strategy
ArtEZ University of the Arts, Arnhem, the Netherlands

2013-2014 Minor Gender Studies
Faculty of Humanities, University of Utrecht, the Netherlands

2006-2010 Bachelor Fashion Design with honors
HKU University of the Arts, Utrecht, the Netherlands

2005-2006 Bachelor Fashion Design (unfinished)
Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam, the Netherlands


2010-now Visual Artist

2017-now Founder and Editor of BODY ISSUE www.body-issue.com

2012-2014 Activist and Spokeswoman for FEMEN www.femen.org

2010-2011 Guest Tutor and Mobile Reporting Workshop for Minor Global Trendwatching
HvA Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands www.hva.nl

2008-2011 Fashion Journalist at 360Fashion Network LLC www.360fashion.net

2009-2010 Art Director of visual concept for China Festival Utrecht
Comissioned by Kosmopolis Utrecht

2005-2011 Fashion Stylist yelenamyshko.tumblr.com

  • 2017 Hendrik Muller Fonds
  • 2017 ArtEZ Profileringsfonds
  • 2009 HKU Jan van Scorel Fonds
  • 2018 BLOOOM Award nominee
  • 2009 Elle NL Stylist Award semi-finalis
  • 2018 Witte Rook (blog), 33nd Tallahassee International Exhibition Catalogue, Artist Statement 3 by CICA Press, SABAT Magazine (blog), A5 Magazine #11 and #12, Wotisart Magazine #11 (cover), Average Art Magazine #19
  • 2017 HYSTERIA #8 (back cover), BODY ISSUE #1, Peep Publication #1 (poster)
  • 2013 Maatschappij & Politiek 44 #8, FNVB Magazine #4, Zij aan Zij 22 #8, Trajectum (blog)

Press mentions:
Hamburg Bild / MOPO Hamburger Morgenpost / B.Z. Berlin Nachrichte / Algemeen Dagblad / Leidsch Dagblad / NRC Next / Het Parool / Trouw / Volkskrant / De Telegraaf Vrouw / NOS / AFP / Line Press

TV5MONDE / RT Ruptly / LCP Assemblée Nationale / France 3 Paris Ile-de-France / Euro News. / NOS op 3 / Spuiten en Slikken BNNVARA