L’viv Artists and Disabled Youth Create the Atmosphere of an Authentic Ukrainian Christmas


From 15-17 November, young people from Caritas’ L’viv, Drohobych, and Striy Centres for the Disabled participated in a special workshop in L’viv. Caritas Ukraine and the L’viv National Museum organized the workshop as part of the Vacation at the L’viv National Museum: A new Life for Old Traditions project which is financed by Rinat Akhmetov’s Foundation for Development of Ukraine.

On 15 and 17 November a workshop was held for disabled children on how to make icons on glass at the L’viv National Museum. L’viv artist Ostap Lozyns’kyy led the work shop. On 16 November Ol’ha Tkachuk, a nationally recognized craftswoman, led a workshop on how to make Ukrainian string dolls. Young people with special needs concentrated on learning the crafts under the watchful eye of professionals and skilled craftsmen.

Each participant had individual reasons for choosing which workshop to attend and then devoted all their attention on hand crafting their masterpiece.

After the end of the workshops, Mr. Lozyns’kyy, Chairman of the Exposition-Exhibition sector at the National Museum, guided participants through the antique icon collection. The interesting stories he told about the saints and learning about the history of old icons helped the disabled young people better understand icons. It also helped them interpret and express their feelings when writing icons of their own.

“We would like to extend a special thanks to Ihor Kozhan, General Director of the L’viv National Museum, Iryna Rizun Head of the Cultural Educational Department, and the museum staff who were involved in organizing and carrying out the workshops and excursions—Ostap Lozyns’kyy, Ol’ha Tkachuk, and Mariya Tsymbalist.

When we first asked the staff to take an active role in this project (and we hope that it will be a long term project) they obviously had some concerns; they were uncertain about what it would be like to work with disabled youngsters. However reservations were put aside after the workshops as all the participants realized that they were interacting with sincere individuals whose interests were similar to theirs,” explains Lyudmyla Sukharyeva, National Coordinator of Work with the Disabled at Caritas Ukraine, after the workshops.

In addition to the workshops held at the National Museum, L’viv’s artists included the disabled children in a slew of other events held in other galleries and studios throughout the city. L’viv residents and guests will be able to view and purchase these works soon at the Dzyga gallery.

The goal of the project called From St. Roman’s Day to the Feast of Jordan, which is supported by the L’viv City Council, is to include the disabled in creating an authentic Ukrainian Christmas as a way to help them integrate into mainstream society.

Nadiya Chorna, Caritas Ukraine’s Public Relations Manager says: “In our country the number of disabled individuals grows every year: today these individuals account for 10% of the Ukrainian population—6% of those are mentally disabled. The belief, instilled by the soviets, that any variation of the norm should be shunned and rejected still prevails in this society.

For this reason, disabled individuals are not welcomed into main stream society; instead they are stigmatized, misunderstood and forced to overcome additional social barriers. L’viv has an extraordinarily progressive and constructive attitude, so this art project will be an important step towards reintegrating the disabled into the general public!

Every artist imparts their own style and interpretation of the Christmas holidays into their work. Ostap Lozyns’kyy and Ulyana Nyshchuk-Borysyak present icons on glass, Ol’ha Pyl’nyk—ceramics, Yaroslava Tkachuk—textiles, Yevheniya Ryabchyn—toys, and Mar’yan Pyrih presented knick-knacks. Many other artists joined the project to present art as a gift, which is accessible to everyone. “In Christmas packages—Artist’s Gifts!” is the motto for From St. Roman’s Day to the Feast of Jordan.

Artistic Gifts can be found:
• From 1 December through 10 January at the Svit Kavy cafe (Katedral’na Square 6, L’viv);
• From 6 December through 20 January at the cafe Stari Mury (Serbs’ka Street 5, L’viv);
• From 8 December at the Svit Art gallery (Holovna Street 32, Chernivtsi);
• From 12 December through 10 January at the Christmas bazaar (Svoboda Blvd., L’viv);
• From 13 December through 24 January at Kvartyra 35 during the Together project held in cooperation with the International Charitable Foundation Caritas Ukraine (Virmens’ka Street 35, L’viv);
• From 17 December at the Kolo Zapys gallery (Kyiv region, Koncha Zaspa, Dam, Rm. 1).

On 13 December, as part of the From St. Roman’s Day to the Feast of Jordan Christmas project a special presentation will be made by the young disabled participants. The presentation will include their works, and photos and a video of the workshops they attended. The presentation will be held at the art cafe Kvartyra 35 (Virmens’ka Street, 35, L’viv).

All works will be available for sale through 24 January, 2012 when the project will close. They are also planning to carol with L’viv’s best bands and to present a slide show of all the events held as part of the From St. Roman’s Day to the Feast of Jordan project.

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