"Holodomor in Ukraine Through the Eyes of a Child"
Students of 6-8 grades of Toronto Schools, Ontario, Canada
Exhibition in Kyiv, Ukraine at the VIII Ukrainian World Congress
Sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC)
A special exhibition of artwork was held in Kyiv, Ukraine on August
18-21, 2003 in conjunction with the VIII Ukrainian World Congress.
The exhibition was entitled "Holodomor in Ukraine Through the Eyes
of A Child," and featured artwork by the students of the sixth to eighth
grades of Toronto Schools, Ontario, Canada.
The idea to combine art painted by school children with the subject of The
Famine-Genocide in Ukraine (1932-1933) came about one Sunday afternoon
by a chance meeting of two teachers attending a church tea. One, early
childhood teacher and artist Halia Dmytryshyn, the other elementary teacher,
Maria Szkambara, President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC),
Toronto Branch, and a member of its Famine Genocide Commemorative
(Click on images to enlarge them)
In the past UCC has invited young people in the community to participate in
events and activities relating to Famine Genocide commemoration as well as
provided information, books, pamphlets and visual materials to schools in
the hopes of furthering children's knowledge and encouraging students to use
this material to write about this subject in their History, Social Studies
and English classes.
This year the goal was to provide students the opportunity to experience
"The Famine-Genocide" through their own artwork, "through their own eyes",
to allow them to express their thoughts and feelings with paint and brushes.
With enthusiastic support of all the other Famine Genocide Commemorative
Committee members: Lesya Jones, Lesia Korobaylo and Chair Eugene
Yakovitch, THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD: THE FAMINE-GENOCIDE
OF UKRAINE in 1932-1933, was launched.
This project was a huge undertaking and involved the principals, teachers
and children of four Toronto area elementary schools: St Demetrius, St.
Josaphat, St. Sofia and Joseph Cardinal Slipyj. Over 200 students took part
in the full-day workshops during October 2000, and 210 works of art were
painted by children of Grades 6, 7, and 8.
The project culminated with an Art Exhibit at the Toronto City Hall Rotunda,
on display during the week-long Famine Genocide events in November 2000. A
commemoration service held on November 22, 2000 at 7 p.m. was a memorable
evening, which included many guests, dignitaries, speakers, as well as
Famine Genocide survivors. Guest author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, launched
her new book "Enough", based on the Famine in Ukraine. Also present was
guest artist Michael Marchenko, illustrator of "Enough" as well as numerous
other well-known childrens' books. Many of the young artists were also
present with their families and accepted autographed copies of "Enough" for
their school libraries presented to them by Maria Szkambara, President of
In the 1920's 1930's, the people of Ukraine,
Lived north of the Black Sea, on beautiful terrain,
in villages, cities, towns and farms
Trees and flowers grew all around.
The people were hardworking and strong,
Proud of their heritage and bountiful land,
And dearly yearned someday to see their beloved country, Ukraine,
Independent and free!
The people were content, to live their lives as God had meant,
To tend their families, homes, animals and farms,
To pray to God and go to church
To celebrate traditional feasts
To laugh and dance and sing their songs.
And blessed with land rich in minerals and good soil,
Ukrainians lived life filled with hard work and fruitful-toil.
Their fields were vast and ripe with wheat,
The land was rich, black soil ran deep.
They grew all manner of food to eat.
Cabbages, fruit, berries and beets.
Sunflowers, turnips, grain and seeds.
And everyone in Europe knew
That in Ukraine's Bread Basket grew:
The richest grain and golden wheat,
That weaved and danced upon the wind,
And pushed its stalks toward the sun.
Baskets were filled and stored away,
Food would be needed each wintry day.
At Harvest's end, the people prayed to Thank God for all that He gave.
They also prayed in the dark of night,
That no one come to take away,
That which belonged to them, each day.
But in their hearts, Ukrainians knew,
The enemy, not far away was coming closer everyday.
The communists from Russian lands formed into dangerous bands
They came to force all farmers to forfeit their land and join collective
With guns in hand - the enemy came,
In trucks and tanks, on horses too,
In wagons, trains and on foot,
By threat of force they swarmed the land.
And took away all food and grain,
Till only stalks, husks, and empty fields remained.
The people knew not where to turn,
As hunger took it's terrible toll.
Day by day the sadness grew,
The sorrow, fear and despair
They felt was beyond all words to tell.
Mothers held their children's heads and
Pressed them close upon their hearts
To hush their cries - they had not milk or food to give
And many died upon their beds.
People searched and hunted for food
Through meadows, woods and fields,
They took whatever they could find to eat,
leaves, seeds, grass, even tiny birds.
But as time went by,
No matter what they did,
However hard they looked and searched,
All their precious food was gone.
Still, people prayed upon their knees,
And asked for help in their great need.
Candles lit in the dark of the night,
They begged for help in their desperate plight.
But no help came from near or far,
And it soon became very clear,
Roaming the land like ravaging wolves,
The horror of Famine was here.
Over the land, all you saw,
Were bloated bodies, lying their,
Starving children and people dying,
Death's "Grim Reaper" hovered everywhere.
The land which once was golden and bright,
Turned into darkness overnight.
Ravaged by crops torn out of the ground,
Tears, mingled with blood to stain it brown.
All across Eastern Ukraine,
Crosses and graves covered the terrain.
Death didn't care if you were big or small,
Bodies lay dead where they fell,
Few were left to mourn them all.
After the ruthless communists came,
Millions of people died in Ukraine.
Borders were sealed as though with a shroud,
Help for Ukraine would not be allowed.
No nation would answer her plea,
The world would not know or see,
The Hunger and Genocide brought to be,
By the Communist forces in 1933.
NO ONE ANSWERED UKRAINE'S CALL,
NO ONE HEARD AND
NO ONE SAW
10,000,000 UKRAINIANS FALL!
By Halia Dmytryshyn
Famine-Genocide in Ukraine 1933 Website
Famine-Genocide Commemorative Committee
Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC)
Toronto Branch, Ontario, Canada
THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD
THE FAMINE-GENOCIDE OF UKRAINE 1932-1933
ART EXHIBIT PROJECT
Toronto, Ontario November 2000
Sponsored by Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) - Toronto Branch
Curator and Art Teacher, Halia Dmytryshyn
Material Posted with Permission from Halia Dmytryshyn
FOR ACADEMIC AND PERSONAL USE ONLY