The unveiling and reception of the “Peter and Olga Savaryn Art Collection” took place on January 29th, 2017. If by chance you were unable to attend, we have included links to videos of this auspicious day.
The evening featured the unveiling of the The “Peter and Olga Savaryn Art Collection”, a diverse collection of 77 paintings and prints by Ukrainian artists from (Alberta) Canada, Ukraine and other countries. Dr. Peter Savaryn, C.M. is Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Alberta and Ukrainian Canadian activist. Dr. Savaryn and his wife Olga are respected for their generosity, initiatives and dedicated community work.
The event was hosted by former Speaker of the Legislature and prominent Ukrainian Canadian, Gene Zwozdesky. Speakers included businessman John Boyko (Pacific Valve Services Inc.), and Dr. Peter Savaryn, C.M.
UCAMA strengthens appreciation of the Ukrainian Canadian experience in Alberta by collecting, preserving and showcasing Ukrainian Canadian heritage. For 125 years, Ukrainian Canadians have been nation-builders, engaged in shaping Canadian society, culture and history. The Savaryn collection will diversify UCAMA’S inventory as it will add pieces created by artists (including local ones) previously not represented by the museum.
UCAMA was honoured with a Recognition Award at the 37th annual Edmonton Historical Board Recognition Awards and Plaques Presentation held November 3, 2011 at the Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre.
The Edmonton Historical Board is an appointed advisory board to Edmonton city council. The Recognition Awards honour individuals and groups who have contributed to Edmonton’s history or its preservation.
The Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum of Alberta (UCAMA) have recently entered into an informal partnership with St. Martin School (Edmonton). Museum artifacts are now on display in the school’s main showcase. The display of Ukrainian artifacts brings to life the early experiences of Ukrainians in Alberta and dovetails well with the Grade three Social Studies curriculum.
It is the hope of the school and UCAMA that the display will be updated every three or four months.
The current display has received positive comments from the grade three class, the parents of St. Martin School and the school staff. According to St. Martin School principal Simon Pryma “…to see artifacts from the early period of Ukrainian Canadian history has a real positive learning benefit. It brings learning to life.”
Outreach projects like this are a part of UCAMA’s mandate. It keeps Ukrainian history alive and relevant for a new generation of Ukrainian Albertans and illustrates that Ukrainians played an important role in Alberta’s development. Future projects between UCAMA and the Edmonton Catholic School District may include the expansion of the showcase project (to include other Ukrainian Bilingual Schools) and the establishment of a loaning library that can be made available to all of Alberta’s grade three classes.
A fascination for ancient European civilizations and a love of diversity motivate visiting Ukrainian artists Mykhailo Horlovy and his daughter Lesia Horlovy.
Speaking through an interpreter, the 25-year-old Lesia says the whimsical, ancient abstract shapes and evocative geometric patterns she sees in the preChristian-era pottery work inspire her not only because of their enduring artistic adeptness, but also because of their personal historic resonance. Her frame of reference is the ancient Trypillian and Scythian civilizations that occupied what is now modern Ukraine.
“These are the cultures that were originally found in the area where my father was born and are an ingrained part of my identity,” she says.
Lesia adds her own contemporary touches to her pieces, which are based on those ancient sources. She’s quick to cite early 20th-century Ukrainian-American sculptor Alexander Archipenko and her father, Mykhailo, as her major inspirations.
An exhibit of the Horlovys’ work is on display at the downtown Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum of Alberta (UCAMA).
UCAMA, the Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum of Alberta held its third folk arts and crafts workshop. In keeping with the holiday season, the theme of the workshop was decoration
making. Participants made miniature dolls and angels to use as ornaments on their Christmas trees.
Khrystyna Kohut opened the workshop by welcoming participants and introducing Natalie Kononenko from the University of Alberta Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian Folklore and students Genia Boivin, Svitlana Kukharenko, and Yanina Vihovska.
Kononenko then spoke briefly about Ukrainian Christmas traditions. These celebrated the nativity of Christ and also helped people articulate their sense of the cycle of nature, the end of one year and hope for year to come. Many old traditions involved crops and crop fertility, often combined with a religious meaning. After talking about traditional celebrations, participants viewed a short film showing Ukrainian Christmas on the Prairies as it was celebrated over fifty years ago.
In all of the old traditions, Kononenko pointed out, the Christmas tree is missing. Yet it is very much a part of Christmas today, both in Canada and Ukraine. The Christmas tree, or ialynka, is a relatively new tradition, but one that has been thoroughly integrated into Ukrainian life. An interesting folktale is called Spiders at Christmas. It illustrates the fact that Ukrainians did not
really have a traditional way of decorating their trees. Kononenko told this story, addressing it particularly to the children in the audience, and said that, as the tree has been adopted and adapted,
so workshop participants were going to adapt traditional dolls to give a Ukrainian feel to their trees.
The highpoint of the workshop was the construction of three dolls, an angel made out of a square of fabric, a cotton ball and embroidery thread, a doll built around a birch bark core (substituted with a paper core for this workshop), and a doll made of rolled-up strips of fabric. Both the paper core doll and the one built on fabric strips could be dressed up in a variety of ways to reflect Ukrainian traditional clothing. The fabric doll could be made up as either a boy dressed in Hutsul trousers and a keptar or a girl dressed in a scarf or khustka and a skirt. As Kononenko pointed out, once the basics of doll construction are learned, almost endless variation is possible. Sure enough, several participants made their own interpretations of the various dolls, creating little hand-made treasures.