Tuesday, 12 February 2013

National Internment Art Mural Project


The Sunflower is widely accepted as the flower of Ukraine. It's head smilingly follows the sun through the day's journey across the sky. Fields of Sunflowers grow on Ukraine's Farmlands, for its rich oil - Beauty, Food, and Balm.

The scattered seeds of the Sunflower, those thousands of men, women and children of Ukraine and Eastern Europe who were affected by the internment operations in Canada during World War 1 will be honored with a special project being launched February 20, 2013.   Vernon, British Columbia Artist Michelle Lougherty is announcing the official launch of this National Internment Art Mural Project. Specially created murals, designed to capture the imagination of viewers with the purpose of edifying the memory of those persons and their families will be appearing in communities across Canada over the next few years.

The artist, Michelle Lougherty is exploring her personal family's experience through this project. Her direct connections with the people, their lives, the hardship, the trauma, fear and shame - and the unusual manner in which this ancestral experience has shaped her life will come to life on the murals. Ultimately, she and her team will be mounting murals across Canada, in the 24 locations associated with the Internment experience.

At a loss for words, I struggle with this period myself - knowing that my family also lost contact with persons known to them through this experience. Where they went, what was their fate, what experiences they weathered - the stories are yet untold. For it is these stories that continue to resonate just under the surface of the bubbling Ukrainian community in Calgary I believe. Proud to be Ukrainian? Perhaps some families had it drummed out of them, and they have assimilated as quickly as was possible - severing ties with family and ancestral memory.

If you are in any way moved by this experience, I sincerely hope you will open the conversation with individuals in our midst whose lives were touched by Canada's National Internment Operation of the World War 1 period. Our Canadian history, ancestral culture, and social fabric of the community could all benefit from this opportunity of healing.

As the artist says "it is only in learning from the past, ...we become the wings of a better future".

St. Mary's Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in Vernon, British Columbia - on February 20, 2013 - at 2 PM will be the launch of this project, an opportunity for project coordinators and those moved by the Internment experience to collaborate. Those who have historical artifacts of the period, or photos, or recollections, may be able to contribute to the shaping of these murals - please consider this as a gift of your time, for Canada's future.

For more information go to www.internmentcanada.ca.

And for more about the Sunflower Project go to www.michelleloughery.org.

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