'Disneyland' on the roof: how an immigrant from Ukraine created a bright landmark in the USA
The original installation of Dmitry Shilyak on the roof of his garage is one of the most significant creations of folk art in Michigan. Shilyak died in 2015, but his Disneyland is still a must for tourists in Detroit. Writes about this StateUsa.ru.
Dmitry Shilyak, an immigrant from Ukraine, arrived in the United States in the 1950s. After retiring, the man began assembling the structure in his backyard in the 1980s. He devoted decades to this hobby, constantly adding new elements to the collection.
Among the colored objects there are old, new, bought, made by hand. They are piled on the roofs of two interconnected garages. The collection includes propellers, fans, plastic horses and a massive, hand-made jet. Carved out of wood men in uniforms are placed under what resembles rockets decorated with Christmas garlands.
The back of the structure consists of paintings framed by newspaper clippings with stories about Disneyland Gemtremka, as he was called by Shilyak himself, a collage of photographs of the author with his creation, frames, wooden objects such as the Statue of Liberty, and soldiers. The central element is the carousel.
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The collection is dominated by blue and yellow, and among the inscriptions in English you can see the words "Ukraine", "UPA", "Bandera", "Glory to Ukraine" - Shilyak was proud of his origin. He turned his yard into a work of art. Its design is at the same time a creative interpretation of Disneyland, the embodiment of Ukrainian nationalism and a monument of immigration. In the twentieth century, the city of Gemtremk was a Ukrainian colony.
At first, neighbors and city authorities opposed the creation of such an eccentric project, but later the mayor noted the work of Shilyak. In 2006, the famous photographer Bruce Weber photographed a model of Kate Moss in this place.
When the author died in 2015 at the age of 92, the local band Hatch Art acquired the house and construction. She launched a fundraising campaign to restore the structure. A joint effort of caring people raised $ 55. Reconstruction continues to this day. Hatch Art promises to preserve the property of Shilyak, as well as create an on-site program for artists and a gallery.
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