Canadian artists, organizations launch fundraising support for Ukraine; condemn Russia

Canada artists fundraising for Ukraine. Image credit: Twitter handle of Techfugees Canada

Toronto/CMEDIA: Shows are being launched all across Canada by Ukrainians in Canada artists and arts organizations in support of Ukraine are celebrating their culture ranging from the work of beloved Ukrainian painter and writer Taras Shevchenko to performances of the Ukrainian anthem at a local hockey game.

Others, like Russian-born Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra music director Daniel Raiskin, are speaking out.

“I firmly believe that it is the duty of every artist to speak the truth, expressing himself through the art he makes,” Raiskin said in an indictment of his country’s actions posted to his Facebook page Wednesday. “But today, this alone is not enough!”

In Toronto, Valeriy Kostyuk, a Ukrainian-born producer with Toronto’s Lighthouse Immersive art space is putting together an immersive show featuring Shevchenko’s work adding that the show was originally set to open in North America this coming September.

But in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Kostyuk said Shevchenko’s 19th-century .work promoting an independent and sovereign Ukraine became urgently relevant.

Kostyuk worked with a team at the National Museum of Taras Shevchenko in Kyiv at night, when the internet is faster, for the show to open on March 15 in Toronto, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and Boston.

“(Shevchenko) wanted to promote Ukrainian culture, he wanted to be writing poetry in the Ukrainian language, he wanted Ukrainians to be independent and living on their own lands and, most importantly, free,” he said in an interview Saturday. “This is exactly what Ukrainian people are going through right now. They are fighting for their national identity.”

Kostyuk said that most of the work in the Shevchenko museum in Kyiv has been hidden away out of reach from the bombs and the shelling, some being hidden in containers used to hide the precious work from the invading Nazi forces in 1941 because Taras Shevchenko is in a way a spiritual and a cultural leader for the Ukrainians.

People attending Immersive Shevchenko: Soul of Ukraine will stand in a room whose walls are flooded with Shevchenko’s original paintings, with a background of music created by composer Timur Polyansky and based on the scores most loved and listened to by Shevchenko.

The show was first presented last October, in Odesa, Ukraine, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the country’s independence and Kostyuk said that he hoped that Canadians or the Americans will come and see it and will support the cause.

All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the efforts to help Ukraine led by the Canadian Red Cross and the National Bank of Ukraine, the Lighthouse Immersive website says.

Meanwhile, in Newfoundland, local band Kubasonics took to the ice at Mile One Centre in downtown St. John’s to sing the Ukrainian national anthem before Friday night’s hockey game between the Newfoundland Growlers and the Adirondack Thunder.

Across the country in British Columbia, a rally against Russia was planned on Saturday afternoon outside the Vancouver Art Gallery in support of Ukraine.

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