The artist's iconography
Polina Raiko was first discovered as an artist by Serhiy Dyachenko, a local historian. Her art is actively promoted by a team of Kherson artists, like Vyacheslav Mashnitski, Olena and Maxym Afanasyev, Stas Volyazlovski with support from the Totem
centre for cultural development.
Olena Afanasyeva together with Serhiy Dyachenko recorded Raiko's stories, categorised and published them in an extensive art catalogue Polina Raiko: Stairway to heaven
(2005) which today continues to be the most complete and comprehensive source of information on the artist. The exhibition largely draws on the artist's iconography as it was described in the text. The husband
Raiko's family home features a portrait of her late husband which she painted after his death. Curiously, the man on the mural does not at all resemble Raiko's husband in real life. Olena Afanasyeva and Serhiy Dyachenko, researchers of Raiko's legacy, say that the artist's archive does not have any photos of her husband with a full moustache. The image is a product of the artist's fancy.
Also, Raiko seems to be performing an ancient burial ritual when she includes in the painting a cash of burial goods to smooth her husband's passage to the netherworld. She paints his favourite alcoholic beverages, like home brewed wine and Ukrainian horilka (vodka) together with a big fishing rod he so much wanted but did not get during his life time.