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Pysanky for Peace hosted at Kingsway Garden Mall

Apr 22, 2022 | News, Canada, Featured

Pysanka display at Kingsway Garden Mall in Edmonton. Photos: Marco Levytsky

Marco Levytsky, NP-UN Western Bureau.

Kingsway Garden Mall in Edmonton is hosting Pysanky for Peace – a fundraiser in partnership with the Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts, and local artists inspired to support displaced families arriving in Edmonton.

The project was started on April 9 and will continue until May 9. Local artists will be painting larger-than-life Easter eggs in support of humanitarian efforts for Ukraine.

A dozen giant six-foot-tall pysanky (traditional Ukrainian Easter Eggs) are on display at the South Entrance 8 to the Mall by the Ukrainian refugee welcome centre, run by the Edmonton Branch of Ukrainian Canadian Social Services (“UCSS Edmonton”), next to Starbucks. Each egg is hand painted by a local artist, who has created a one-of-a-kind egg in their own distinct style.

The Easter eggs will be sold as a fundraiser UCSS Edmonton, a charitable organization that responds to the needs and interests of the Ukrainian community and who is working to support their efforts with humanitarian aid and displaced families.

The fundraiser will be hosted through Ollive’s Auction via Proxibid an online auctioning service. All funds collected through the Silent Auction will be donated to the UCSS Edmonton.

The eggs will be displayed for a short period of time only at Kingsway, after which they will go to the individuals and businesses that have purchased them.

Kingsway’s sister property in Calgary, Southcentre Mall, is also hosting a parallel Pysanky for Peace fundraiser.

“Everything that is happening right now is heartbreaking for me and I want to help any way I can,” explains Breanna Barrington, one of the participating artists. “I’m an artists so I figured might as well use my skills to help.”

Barrington is a multimedia artist whose work focuses on storytelling through combining performance and illustration, with recycled object arrangements – centering on themes of Ukrainian heritage, and environmental stewardship. The artist draws inspiration from her travels to Ukraine, her studies in the realm of in Slavic Folklore, and her heritage.

Two of the artists, Eli Abada and Ulrike Rossier are from the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts, which supports a collective of artists with developmental disabilities.

Abada joined the collective in late 2017. He experimented with printmaking and drawing before focusing on painting with acrylics, his preferred medium. He uses bright, primary colours to create boldly contrasting images of insects, fossils, and animals.

Born in West Germany in the midst of World War II, Rossier came to Canada when she was 23. Always interested in art, she once had her own loom and taught weaving. Uli typically works in ink and oil pastels and creates richly coloured drawings with playful designs.

Other participating artists include:

Borys Tarasenko, a multidisciplinary artist based in Edmonton. A BFA Art & Design graduate from the University of Alberta with a focus in Painting, Borys likes creating artwork and graphics for musicians, theatre artists, and non-profit organizations.

Ashley Rosenow, owner of Illustrious Interiors, is a local muralist, designer and stager in the Edmonton area. Ashley grew up painting traditional pysankas with kistka’s during the Ukrainian Easter holiday. It is an honor to paint such a large egg and for such a great cause.

Kalyna Somchynsky is a researcher and art historian based in Edmonton. She completed her Master of Arts in The History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture at the University of Alberta in 2020. Her research interests include how feminist artists in Ukraine are addressing the body, labour, and conflict within their work, alternative narratives of Ukrainian-Canadian settler identity, and finding the extraordinary in ordinary aesthetic experiences.

Myroslava Oksentiuk is a Ukrainian folk artist, designer and future holistic nutritionist who is involved in many activities that connect with the Ukrainian community such as festivals and ACUA galleries. Myroslava teaches traditional workshops and sings in a folk ensemble in Edmonton RUTA. She is in love with her culture and was inspired to make her own version of the traditional Ukrainian Pysanka egg.

Sky Hoffos is an artist and craftsman of endless interests. For the last two years, Sky has been working on a project about “Pysanka Paintings”, in which he has taken the process used in “writing” Ukrainian Symbolic Eggs, and adapted the process to canvas. The paintings represent the geometric symbology of traditional egg styles from all over Ukraine, and every painting is created intuitively with very little initial planning or measurements

Nathan Panousis is an Edmonton based muralist & tattoo artist. His work specializes in the visual representation of our cultural myths within the context of the modern psyche. Through the use of semiotics (symbols and meaning), bold line work and colour he has developed a unique visual language to express the ideas around his work.

Hannah McMillan is a self-taught visual artist in Edmonton who has been in practice for 3 years, focusing on the acrylic and oil mediums, charcoal and ink – including public art fixations. Her style varies from portrait to abstract and realism. She understands painting as a form of expression with a burning passion for public art, heavily influenced by human connection, music, and
all things obscure.

About UCSS Edmonton

UCSS is dedicated to helping those who are unable to help themselves. As a non-profit, charitable organization, UCSS responds to the needs and interests of both the Ukrainian Community as a whole and individuals through its wide range of services.

These services include:
• Aid to the poor and needy;
• Providing assistance to senior citizens and new immigrants;
• Counseling and advice assistance;
• Referral and information center;
• Translation service;
• Aid in sponsorship of refugees;
• Aid in immigration procedures;
• Help with Canadian Citizenship application;
• Aid overseas; and
• Liaison with various governmental and other social service agencies.

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