Pysanky for Peace hopes to raise funds for displaced Ukrainian families

Local artists are using their talents to create huge Easter eggs for a charity that helps displaced Ukrainian families.

From April 9 to May 9, artists will hand-paint a dozen larger-than-life pysanky, or traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs, at Kingsway Mall.

The eggs will then be auctioned off to support the Ukrainian Canadian Social Services Agency (UCSS) which works to provide humanitarian aid and support families displaced by the conflict who come to Canada.

The eggs are six feet tall and are decorated by a group of various Ukrainian and local artists, including two painters from the Nina Haggerty Center for the Arts.

“I think they’re a bit bigger than people generally expect,” said Kingsway Mall spokesperson Bo Tarasenko.

“All of them are very unique,” he added. “Some traditional, some non-traditional. But they’re all very striking once they’re done.”

Tarasenko said the project is a continuation of a Ukrainian tradition where artists create large pysanky in public spaces to celebrate the preparation for Easter.

“The support from people walking around has been really great,” he said. “Everyone kind of wants to touch them; make sure they’re real and ask if they’re filled with chocolate.”

Kingsway Mall’s sister property in Calgary, Southcentre Mall, is also hosting a side fundraiser. Together, the Pysanky for Peace project hopes to raise more than $20,000 for UCSS, with the silent auction beginning April 14.

“(UCSS) works very hard to support families here who are bringing people in from Ukraine, as well as people who have no place to stay once they are there,” Tarasenko added.

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