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Traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs up for auction to help people impacted by war


Intricately designed eggs are an Easter tradition for many Ukrainians, and now local artists are painting massive replicas to raise money for those impacted by the war.

It's the second year pysanky master Daena Diduck is painting the massive eggs, which range in height from almost a metre to nearly two metres.

Artists are working on 14 eggs – one for each month of the war in Ukraine – that will be on display at Southcentre Mall and up for auction starting April 5.

The fundraiser is called "Pysanky for Peace".

"It creates the exposure," Diduck said.

"We're also raising the money for the two charities and they're based in Calgary here, so we've got Wunderfund, as well as Ukrainians of Calgary Association."

Diduck says she's lost track of how many regular-sized eggs she's worked on.

Artists use paint and tape on the large Styrofoam eggs, rather than the dye and wax that would be typical for the smaller ones.

"I came up with a design with the red stars and the black and blue and yellow triangles for the flag of Ukraine," she said.

Diduck is of Ukrainian descent and while she was born here, she's visited other pysanky artists in Ukraine and has strong ties to the war-ravaged country.

"I can honestly describe the first few months of the war as me being numb," she said.

"So for me, it was a way to give more information on what's going on, plus it spotlighted as well some of the pysanky artists that we have in Ukraine."

Evelyn Ofsoske, Wunderfund CEO, says Easter is an important time of year in Ukraine.

"I was born in Ukraine and I remember the times when we spent days painting the pysankys," Ofsoske said.

"Even back in the Soviet Union times, when going to church was frowned upon, people still honoured the event and the holiday."

In 2022, Ofsoske says, the Pysanky for Peace campaign raised more than $100,000 in both Edmonton and Calgary.

She says the money was put to good use.

"It started with providing things like socks, water filters, boots to the people on the ground," she said.

"It's since evolved to providing mental-health care through a partnership with a charitable organization in Ukraine to soldiers and others affected by the war in Ukraine."

Ofsoske says events like Pysanky for Peace keep a spotlight on what's happening in Ukraine and it's important for Albertans to realize people are still suffering.

"Awareness has been huge and it's probably No. 1 because it's fallen off the news since the very early days of invasion … and people have moved on with their lives," she said.

"Yet the fight continues and people are still fighting for survival and so it's extremely important to keep awareness up so that people can understand what the situation is and how it's evolving, how people are suffering, where the help is required."

Calgarians will be able to explore the final designs at Southcentre Mall's centre court from April 5 to April 30 during mall hours.

You can learn more about the charities supported by Pysanky for Peace at and Top Stories

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