Heorhiy Narbut Prize
Folk Costumes Issue Crowned Ukraine's Best for 2003 Narbut Prize
In the end, the Ukrainian Folk Costumes release, which garnered 14% of the vote, edged out the Military History of Ukraine issue (stamps featuring ancient Scythian warriors; 12%; and the Kyiv Through Artist’s Eyes stamp set (stamps depicting cityscapes by Taras Shevchenko (11%). Also receiving substantial support was Ukraine’s first chess stamp commemorating Ruslan Ponomarov becoming the 16th World Chess Champion (8%), a new four-stamp set honoring Ukrainian space scientists (8%), and the latest three stamps of the ongoing Hetmans of Ukraine series (7%).
Once more this year, participants were able to submit their choices electronically. Just over 80% of the hundreds of participants were from Ukraine, while the rest were from North America. The Narbut Prize continues to be recognized as the premier philatelic art award in Ukraine. Past winners of the Prize have been depicted in Filatelia Ukrainy, Ukraine’s leading philatelic periodical.
Readers wishing to examine all of last year’s stamps (or the issues from any year) in full color, may do so online at the Ukrainian Electronic Stamp Album. Click on 2002 or on any other year’s issues you may wish to check out.
The Winner and His Designs
This year’s winning artist is Mykola Kochubei, who will receive a certificate and a $250 honorarium for his colorful and fetching images highlighting regional costumes and holidays. The six designs of the set were released separately as stamps and together on a souvenir sheet. The first two stamps feature characters from the Vinnytsia region dressed for the holidays of Pokrova (Protection of the Mother of God) and Spas (The Savior). The former falls on 1 October and signals the beginning of the fall cycle of folk holidays. Weddings are frequently held following this festival. Spas falls on 6 August and marks the end of the harvest season. At this time a harvest wreath, grain, fruits, and honey are traditionally blessed at the church.
The next two designs show the traditional clothing of the Cherkasy region worn during the vernal songs (termed vesnianky or haivky) performed at Easter time, as well as the summer feast of Makovii (Maccabeus; 1 August), when women and girls have the last flowers of summer blessed in church. The final stamps depict Christmas and Easter in the Ternopil region.
The stamp images on the souvenir sheet version of this issue are identical to the regular stamp issues but, in addition, they are surrounded by a variety of embroidery motifs along the top and sides of the sheet, and by a village scene across the bottom.
Souvenir sheets remain very popular philatelic items in Ukraine. This was the sixth year in a row that such a sheet – alone or in combination with stamps as this year - finished first in the competition.
This folk costume issue is the second created by Mr. Kochubei in as many years. His first set of six designs in 2001 ended up as runner up in the Narbut Prize balloting for that year. Mr. Kochubei is scheduled to continue his Folk Costume series in 2003 with six further stamps and a matching souvenir sheet.