'Christ Is Not An Aryan' on top of Axel Spinger Building in Berlin, 2007
Graduating in science (Alla holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and an MSc in Technical Science), Alla has enjoyed a career in fine art, exploring the notions of human identity, the synergy of art and technology, and the social impact of the arts, and in education, promoting creativity to empower people realise their creative potential and unleash a new era of prosperity.
Alla’s artwork has featured on the front pages of the leading national newspapers The Times (UK) and Bild (Germany), and in the Guardian, Independent, Jackdaw Art Review, Art Industry, Hello!, Der Spiegel, Die Welt, Dancing Times, Evening Standard, ITV and BSN television platforms and other press and media.
Alla has exhibited her art in the UK, USA, Germany, South Korea and Ukraine. Her paintings were included in the art collections of the Royal College of Music and the BBC Public Ownership Collection. She is a recipient of the Leverhulme Artist-in-Residence Award, UK Millennium Award, and Gold Medal of the Lead Awards. Alla is an RSA Fellow.
The 20th Century Naked Dictators Series, 2002–07
In 2002–07, Alla’s ‘20th Century Naked Dictators’ series of paintings, floor-adhesive prints, posters, wallpaper designs, billboards and animation explored the contemporary context of the historic personalities Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Mao Zedong and Stalin. The ‘Naked Dictators’ featured in Der Freund (Germany) in 2005.
In 2007 an animation 'Christ is Not an Aryan' was screened on Europe’s largest digital screen on top of the Axel Springer Building in Berlin, and named as ‘one of three things to see in Berlin’ by Bild and BZ magazine (Germany). The painting 'Siamese Twins' featured as ‘The Image of the Week' in The Times Art Review (UK). Alla was named the 'Critic's Choice' by Saatchi Online and exhibited the series at her solo exhibition at the Crone Gallery in Berlin in 2007.
Prince Charles Series, 2000–02
In 2000–02, Alla created a series of drawings and paintings of Prince Charles following a sitting at Highgrove, which featured on the cover of The Times (UK), and Bild and Der Freund literary magazine (Germany). The painting 'Black Prince’ won the Gold Medal of the Lead Award for ‘Best Magazine Cover of the Year 2005'. The series was exhibited at Ebury Galleries in London's Belgravia in 2002.
National Portrait Gallery Seminars, 2002–06
Alla curated her own seminar series on modern portraiture called ‘The Changing Face of Portraiture’ at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2002–06, debating how portraiture can escape the ‘shackles of convention’ with leading artists and critics such as Maggi Hambling and Tim Marlow.
The Times (UK) was the series’ media partner and wrote: ‘Alla Tkachuk believes that radical new concepts are needed in portraiture today. She would like to encourage 3D digital and installation portraiture, has invited a cosmetic surgeon to discuss his work “sculpt faces”, commissioned a “sound portrait” that uses computer software which translates image into music, and offered herself as a living portrait to grace the walls of the NPG. Tkachuk intends the choice of venue to be provocative. The NPG was established by the Victorians as a gallery about the history and status of the sitter rather than the quality of the portrait as art.’ (The Times, 13 June 2006.)
5D Instigative Heads, 2004–08
In 2004–08, Alla created an experimental series of works, the ‘Instigative Head: 5D’, which explored the transformation of production and consumption of representational art through modern digital technologies. The ‘Heads’ are 3D scans of sitters' facial expressions, which were then rendered in oil paint as ‘texture maps’. They were 3D-digitally merged, moulded and deformed in space and time, and then integrated with electro-acoustic landscapes and augmented reality. Finally, they were 3D printed and projected.
The ‘Heads’ were shown at the National Portrait Gallery as part of 'The Changing Face of Portraiture’ seminars in 2006. In 2007, they were exhibited at the Shunt, London, where viewers could interact with them through motion-sensing technology. In 2010, they were on show at the renowned Balaklava Odyssey Media Art Festival in the Crimea, Ukraine.
Between 1997 and 2018, Alla painted world-renowned opera singers at the Royal Opera House, portraying them as stage characters. They included John Tomlinson, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Bryn Terfel, Felicity Lott, Angela Gheorghiu, Willard White, Thomas Allen, José Cura and Marcelo Àlvarez. The paintings were exhibited at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, the Royal Opera House Shop, and the Russian Culture House in London in 2018.
Alla was commissioned by the Royal Ballet to paint a portrait of Dame Ninette de Valois. She also painted the Royal Ballet principal dancers Darcey Bussell, Irek Muhamedov and Jonathan Cope. The portrait of Darcey Bussell featured on the front page of The Times (UK) in 1998.
Among her private and public portrait commissions are portraits of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Dilks, commissioned by the University of Hull; Francis George Steiner, commissioned by Queen Mary University of London; Academician U. Osipov, commissioned by the Russian Academy of Science; as well as Sir John Nott, Lord Bird and other public personalities.
CREATIVITY EDUCATION WORK
MASK project, 2007–ongoing
“Art can not only express issues, it can deal with the issues directly, empowering people to change the world and reach for the common good”, Alla believes in Social Art. In 2007, while painting in Kenya, Alla discovered that art education was limited in Kenyan schools and founded MASK Create charity (formerly, Mobile Art School in Kenya (MASK)), dedicated to advancing education in creativity and innovation, through the arts and other means, and empowering young people for socio-economic development.
Since, MASK has reached 14 countries in Africa. Alla has presented and exhibited the MASK’s work worldwide at organisations such as UNESCO, Saatchi Gallery, Turner Contemporary, Nairobi National Museum, the US Library of Congress, and the George Washington University; and organised seminars at the University of London and the Woodrow Wilson Center. MASK's work has been recognised by Harvard’s School of Education, InSEA, HundrED, Barack and Michelle Obama, and the Kenyan government. In 2020, it was named ‘Most Innovative Learning Organisation 2020’ by the SME News (UK). Donate to MASK
Since 2014, Alla has written a column on art and creativity for the Kenyan national newspaper The Star. She has contributed to the Royal Society of Arts (UK) and the Results for Development Institute (USA) blogs, and AD (UK), Childhood Education (USA), Private Sector (Kenya) and other magazines.
Alla lives and works in London.