Head to Kingsway Mall to see beautiful art — and welcome the artists displaced by war
By Cory Schachtel | April 6, 2023
For almost 40 years, the Alberta Council for the Ukrainian (ACA) Arts has supported and celebrated local Ukrainian artists through “exhibitions, tours, festivals, educational programs, workshops, and special projects,” and in this terrifying time for Ukrainian citizens, every project is extra special, including the ACA’s Pysanky for Peace at Kingsway Mall.
“Last year, we were able to get a number of artists to volunteer from the community to paint these larger-than-life eggs with their own original artwork, to bring attention to things that were going on in Ukraine. But also at the time, there was an area of the mall nearby that was bringing in newcomers to sort of help them out with the sort of orientation sessions, spearheaded by the Ukrainian Canadian Social Services” says Borys Tarasenko, the program assistant at the ACA, and a multidisciplinary artist himself. At last year’s first Pysanky for Peace event, he saw how traditional Ukrainian art can help ease the stress of people arriving in Edmonton after being displaced by war.
“This year, we were able to get all artists who unfortunately have been displaced by the war. They’re now residing in Edmonton, and they’re kind of trying to make a life here temporarily. And we’re also happy that this year is a paid opportunity for the artists. They don’t have to volunteer — they’re being compensated for their time,” he says. Their English might not be perfect, but smiles break any language barriers, and “they’re all wonderful, hardworking people that are just really glad to be able to express themselves through this project.”
Pysanky is the art of the decorated egg, and dates back to ancient times. But they aren’t usually this big. “There are eggs ranging between three and a half feet tall to six feet tall. They’re made of sanded-down Styrofoam, and artists will be painting all of them simultaneously.”
Until April 17, you can stop by and watch the artists in action (based on their availability), and see the eggs on display until April 30, at which point you can bid on your favourite, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to Ukrainian Canadian Social Services (you can also donate any time).
Which is your go-to Christmas movie?
13%Miracle on 34th Street
25%A Nightmare Before Christmas
0%Jingle All the Way
Tarasenko says it’s a way to give a small taste of home to people who have been forced from theirs. “In our day to day lives, it’s easy to forget things that are going on, on the other side of the world. We’ve kind of been overwhelmed by this news for so long, but unfortunately, the situation has just forced us to have to keep supporting people in need. And we need to keep facilitating projects to increase the visibility of people who have been displaced by the war and need to be supported by the community.”