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Ukrainian diaspora in Canada examined in new Maple Ridge exhibit

Opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 10, for Labour and Memory – Ukrainian-Canadian Contexts
Solastalgic Soliloquy , by Ayla Dmyterko, single-channel digital video. (ACT Art Gallery/Special to The News)

A new exhibit at the ACT Arts Centre will examine Ukrainian migration to Canada.

Three artists – Ayla Dmyterko, Sonya Iwasiuk, and Darlene Kalynka – dove into their archival and family records to reflect on their individual ties to Ukrainian migration.

The exhibition called Labour and Memory – Ukrainian-Canadian Contexts combines the mediums of sculpture, installation, printmaking books, and moving image, to layer the past and present of Ukrainian-Canadian realitites and examine how migration has impacted Ukrainian culture in Canada.

Dmyterko will be combining performance, dance, poetry, and moving image to weave together threads of cultural knowledge and folk practices. Her moving image works choreograph snippets of memory into new imaginings of inherited stories.

Iwasiuk’s art includes painting, sculpture, and installation. Iwasiuk has worked with archival photographs of Ukrainians arriving at Pier 21 in Halifax. Her work also reflects her lived experience on prairie landscapes.

Kalynka uses printmaking and bookmaking to explore themes of labour, sacrifice, and women’s work. She travelled to her grandfather’s village in Western Ukraine, and through her work, shared the journey of her return to her homeland.

“Through sustained effort, the Ukrainian diaspora maintained many aspects of their traditions, yet all cultures change through time and circumstance. Raised in Ukrainian farming families on the Prairies, the artists now perform the labour of research and reflection to learn more about themselves and generations past. Each of the artist’s unique perspectives in Labour and Memory demonstrate the complexities of culture,” read the gallery’s description of the exhibition.

Labour and Memory runs until Saturday, Oct. 29, at the ACT Art Gallery, 11944 Haney Place. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10-3 p.m.. Admission is free.

The opening reception takes place Saturday, Sept. 10 from 1-3 p.m. with artist talks by Kalynka and Iwasiuk.

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