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Exhibit in Summerland shows works by Ukrainian artists

Works will be on display Jan. 13 to Feb. 10
Works by Ukrainian artist, Oksana Zbrutska and her father, Andrii Zbrutskyi will be featureed at an exhibit in Summerland. (Contributed)

An art exhibit in Summerland will show works from two internationally exhibited Ukrainian artists.

In collaboration with The Ukrainian Nightingale Project, The Service Station on Butler Street will present the exhibition by Ukrainian artists Oksana Zbrutska and her father Andrii Zbrutskyi.

The two are both well-esteemed artists in Ukraine and beyond.

Zbrutskyi worked in the Art Fund of Ukraine as an easel painting artist and a master of reproductions and painted many large frescoes and murals in churches in western and central Ukraine. Until the end of communist rule in 1991, the pursuit of persona art was not allowed and artists like Zbrutskyi did not sign their works for fear of persecution.

Despite these restrictions, Zbrutskyi was commissioned to produce paintings for the mayor and officials of the city of Kyiv. The Sheikh of Saudi Arabia also purchased many of Zbrutskyi’s paintings. While his work at that time was mainly large historical compositions portraying famous heroes of Ukraine, Zbrutskyi prefers painting landscapes rather than political works. His current work reflects this with a focus on creating Okanagan-inspired landscapes.

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Zbrutska’s work has been internationally exhibited and is housed in both private and corporate collections in Greece, Japan, China, Mexico, North America and Europe. Recognized as the founder of the “Ukrainian ethno-romantic style,” Zbrutska was accorded the international Cultural Diplomacy Award and conferred the honorary title of “Honored Artist of Ukraine” in 2022.

Her work reflects a world of purity and wonder that is fed by memories of childhood immersed in the richness and natural beauty of the Ukrainian countryside. Her work is full of color, texture and whimsical imagery and her compositions allude to an internal world of hope and joy.

Despite their recent hardships of fleeing their homeland, the two artists have been working to create a new body of work.

The Ukrainian Nightingale Project and local businesses and community members have offered support with a supply of materials, transportation, and housing. The South Okanagan Women in Need Society women’s shelter housed Zbrutska and her two sons while her father was living with a Penticton local and Nightingale volunteer.

Zbrutska was able to paint at the women’s shelter. The Service Station provided transportation and an inspiring space for Zbrutskyi to paint during December.

Now, the whole family has found safety together in a house for the next five months that was donated by a local family through the work of the Ukrainian Nightingale Project. This space is providing a comfortable working environment for father and daughter to build their collection of works and slowly gain a viable income as professional working artists.

Before the war, Zbrutska’s works were sold for up to $10,000. While their current works are being priced lower, they hope to slowly return the value of the work to match their international collections. Art experts are providing advice on how best to approach the Canadian market while also continuing to expand in the international market.

There is interest in her work to be exhibited in galleries in both Vancouver and Toronto and efforts are being made to recover work left in the Ukraine because of fleeing from the war.

Through Ukrainian Eyes; A Gentler World will be available to view Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. until Feb. 10 at The Service Station, 5505 Butler St.

John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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