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Artists craft larger-than-life Ukrainian Easter eggs to raise money for displaced families

Artists paint and decorate massive Ukrainian pysanky in Kingsway Mall on Sunday, April 10, 2022 (CTV News Edmonton/Brandon Lynch). Artists paint and decorate massive Ukrainian pysanky in Kingsway Mall on Sunday, April 10, 2022 (CTV News Edmonton/Brandon Lynch).
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Local artists are using their talents to create massive Easter eggs in support of a charity helping displaced Ukrainian families.

From April 9 to May 9, artists will hand paint a dozen larger-than-life pysanky, or traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs, in Kingsway Mall.

The eggs will then be auctioned off to support the Ukrainian Canadian Social Services (UCSS) agency working to deliver humanitarian aid and support families displaced by the conflict who are coming to Canada.

The eggs are six feet tall and are being decorated by a group of various Ukrainian and local artists, including two painters from the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts.

"They are quite a bit bigger, I think than people generally expect," said Bo Tarasenko, a Kingsway Mall spokesperson.

"All of them are very unique," he added. "Some traditional, some non-traditional. But they are all very striking once they are done."

Tarasenko said the project is a continuation of a Ukrainian tradition where artists create large pysanky in public spaces to celebrate the lead-up to Easter.

"The support from people walking around has been really great," he said. "Everyone wants to kind of touch them; make sure they're real and ask if they're filled with chocolate."

Kingsway Mall's sister property in Calgary, Southcentre Mall, is also hosting a parallel fundraiser. Together, the Pysanky for Peace project hopes to raise more than $20,000 for UCSS, with the silent auction beginning April 14.

"(UCSS) is working very hard to support the families here that are bringing people over from Ukraine, as well as the people who don't have a place to stay once they are over (here)," Tarasenko added. 

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