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September 17, 2014

“There’s something I haven’t mentioned to anyone, yet…” confessed the Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, to the large crowds gathered on Parliament Hill earlier today, “This is my first visit to Canada!” He was certainly made to feel at home by the warm welcome. Canadians of many ethnic backgrounds including Polish, Belorus, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Jewish, Hungarian and Crimean Tatars joined with Ukrainian-Canadians in support of a sovereign and independent Ukraine.

Rally for Ukraine

Rally for Ukraine

Following his official address in Parliament, Poroshenko gave a brief, but powerful speech outside on the Hill. The mood was celebratory. And for good reason. This was the day after Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) voted in favour of EU association. Ukraine’s newly elected President spoke optimistically of future Ukraine-Canadian relations. Following his informal, but well-crafted speech, security staff were caught off-guard as Poroshenko quickened down the steps to greet and shake hands with people. We shook hands as he passed. “Cool!” I thought, “that’s probably the closest I’ll get to a billionaire.”

Poroshenko in Passing

President Poroshenko in Passing

March 21, 2014

It was the final Sunday of a long, frigid and worrisome winter season as the world watches events unfold in Ukraine. Thousands gathered at Toronto’s Dundas Square to show their solidarity for Crimea as part of a united, sovereign, democratic and independent Ukraine. The large anti-war manifestation made stops at the US, British, German, French and Russian consulates. Protests will continue this weekend at the Russian consulate at Bloor and Church Streets. It will be the first Sunday of spring…

Mega March on Yonge Street.

Mega March on Yonge Street.

Watch the full version on Youtube by clicking here.

February 24, 2014

The recent days have been filled with shock and loss of words as Ukraine and the world mourns the deaths in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

Deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the Yanukovych régime.

Euromaidan Activists

Georgiy Arytyunin (1960-2014)
Serhiy Baydovskiy (1990-2014)
Serhiy Bondarchuk (1961-2014)
Oleksiy Bratushko (1971-2014)
Valeriy Brezdeniuk (1963-2014)
Bohdan Baiyda (1965-2014)
Roman Barenitsya (1978-2014)
Vlad Chaplinskiy (?-2014)
Andriy Chernenko (1979-2014)
Viktor Chmilenko (1961-2014)
Olexander Charyok (?-2014)
Antonina Dvoryanetz (1952-2014)
Mykola Dzyavulskiy (1958-2014)
Andriy Dihdalovich (1973-2014)
Serhiy Didych (1970-2014)
Ihor Dmytriv (1984-2014)
Ustim Holodniuk (1994-2014)
Edward Hrynevych (1985-2014)
Roman Huryk (1994-2014)
Olexander Kapinos (1984-2014)
Serhiy Kemskiy (1981-2014)
David Kapiani (?-2014)
Volodymyr Kischuk (1956-2014)
Ihor Kostenko (1991-2014)
Anatoliy Korniyev (?-2014)
Andriy Korchak (1965-2014)
Vitaliy Kotsyuba (1982-2014)
Ivan Kreman (?-2014)
Volodymyr Kulchitskiy (1949-2014)
Olexander Khrapachenko (1987-2014)
Zubar Khurtsiya (Georgia) (1960-2014)
Andriy Movchan (1980-2014)
Vasyl’ Moysei (1992-2014)
Volodymyr Naumov (1970-2014)
Roman Nikulichev (1993-2014)
Valeriy Opanasiuk (1971-2014)
Dmytro Pahor (1993-2014)
Volodymyr Pavliuk (1974-2014)
Mykola Pan’kiv (1975-2014)
Yuriy Parashchuk (1966-2014)
Yuriy Paskhalin (1984-2014)
Olexander Plekhanov (1991-2014)
Leonid Polyanskiy (1979? -2014)
Andriy Sayenko (1962-2014)
Ihor Serdiuk (1974-2014)
Viktor Smiyanenko? (1961-2014)
Vitaliy Smolyanskiy (?-2014)
Bohdan Solchanyk (1985-2014)
Serhiy Shapoval (1969? -2014)
Joseph Shiling (1952-2014)
Maksym Shynko (1981-2014)
Olexander Shcherbaniuk (1968-2014)
Ivan Tarasiuk (1993-2014)
Ihor Tkachuk (1975-2014)
Roman Tochin (1969-2014)
Ivan Tur (1973-2014)
Oleh Ushnevych (1982-2014)
Vitaliy Vasyltsyov (1977-2014)
Vyachyslav Veremiy (1980-2014)
Nazar Voytovych (1996-2014)
Anatoliy Zhalovaha (1980-2014)
Volodymyr Zhreyanin (1985-2014)
Anatoliy Zherebnikh (?-2014)
Yakiv Zaiyko (1941-2014)
Volodymyr Zakharov (1957-2014)

Police and Military Personnel

Vasyl’ Bilitka (1985-2014)
Andriy Fedyukin (1972-2014)
Vitaliy Honcharov (1989-2014)
Oleksiy Ivanenko (1977-2014)
Petro Savytskiy (1972-2014)
Serhiy Spichak (?-2014)
Ivan Tepliuk (1993-2014)
Maksym Tertyiak (1993-2014)
Serhiy Tsvihun (1990-2014)
Dmytro Wlasenko (1982-2014)
Volodymyr Yevtushok (1971-2014)

My thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Ukraine, and their brave struggle to protect their dignity, human rights, and democracy in Ukraine.

Slava Ukraini! Heroyam Slava!
Слава Україні! Героям слава!

December 9, 2013

What a strange day of mixed feelings.

On Sunday I awoke to the news that the Lenin monument was toppled during pro-EU protests in Kyiv, capital of Ukraine. The red granite monument stood opposite the Bessarabska market for just over 67 years. To millions, this day will symbolize the end of an era. December 8th, 2013–the day Lenin fell.  


Later on that afternoon, I switched on the radio and the airwaves were filled with Beatles songs. I recalled the December evening in late 1980 when my brother came downstairs and broke the tragic news about John Lennon. Thirty three years ago marked the end of an era in music. December 8th, 1980–the day Lennon was shot. 





November 24, 2013

Candles are lit and memories are ignited during these final November days of 2013. This year marks eighty years since one of the largest acts of genocide in modern European history. The famine-genocide raged in Soviet Ukraine and other regions of the Soviet Union. Known as the Holodomor (a compound of the Ukrainian words holod meaning “famine” and mor meaning “death”) ravaged the fertile countryside in what was the greatest irony of the twentieth century.  We remain largely unaware of the Holodomor and its repercussions. Things are changing. Traumas experienced in the last century are slowly being redressed. 

A gamut of complex, often conflicting, emotions surfaced in this commemorative year. It has been a year of questions and condolences, regrets and hopes. As a child of a Holodomor survivor, I was faced with deeply introspective, existential questions—it was, after all, a generation which separated my own being with the spectre of genocidal oblivion. I regret not being more attentive to the testimony of my father, who had witnessed first-hand the atrocities of both Soviet and Nazi regimes.

Eight decades have passed since the Holodomor and we remain largely unaware of its repercussions. The topic has been long-neglected in the field of scholarship and only recently the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33 has received a modicum of media attention. Things are changing. Traumas experienced in the last century are slowly being redressed. I continue to place my faith in the restorative power of art; a force which creates forums of discussion, puncturing the silence of sleep.

Ukraine Remembers – the World Acknowledges


June 19, 2009

It was a day before the Summer Solstice when I met with the Gallery’s upcoming exhibiting artist, Natalie Laluque. She is scheduled to show from July 25 to September 6, 2009. We were almost at the pinnacle of the our daylight hours. When I arrived at her studio, Deborah Nolan, Station Gallery’s Education Coordinator was already in the midst of a discussion with Natalie and her art making process.

Artist Natalia Laluque, in her home studio

We proceeded with an interview, in preparation for Natalie’s exhibition. There were several pictures included in the context of the interview and they played out as if actors waiting to appear on stage.

Check out Laluque’s work at:, on view until September 6, 2009 at Whitby’s Station Gallery.