A Review of Iskry / Living Embers: The art of Orysia Sinitowich-Gorski, by A.S.P.:

The weekend of October 1-3, 2004 marked the debut exhibit of art works by local artist and prominent member of Winnipeg's Ukrainian community Orysia Sinitowich-Gorski. The exhibit, aptly titled "Iskry/Living embers" was held at the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre "Oseredok" which was celebrating its 60th anniversary and is one of the foremost institutions of its kind in North America. It also coincided with the triennial Ukrainian Canadian Congress meeting in Winnipeg which brought Ukrainians from across Canada to the city for that weekend.

The official opening of the exhibit took place the evening of Friday, October 1, 2004. Dr. Alexandra Pawlowsky of the Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies, University of Manitoba began the evening by reflecting upon Orysia's artistic heritage inherited from the gifted Sinitowiches who were hutsul artisans over many generations and that she, in turn, passed on this talent to her children. Dr. Pawlowsky also spoke how the germ of an idea for a long merited exhibit of the artist's works took root, grew and blossomed into the magnificent event now taking place. The full to capacity exhibit room filled with friends, guests, and art lovers responded very positively to the exhibit as Ivan V. Makar, the artist's son-in-law, introduced each piece.

The artist's works consist mainly of oil and acrylic paintings done in a largely realistic style. The themes are wide ranging, from the very currently relevant Demokratiya? (Democracy?) which features the fervent animation on the faces of political demonstrators on the streets of Kyiv and the heart rendering Holodomor (Famine) whose ghastly intense depiction of famine victims touched even the non-Ukrainians among those present. Other works included portraits, landscapes and still lifes.

The most visually stunning were the portraits! The most important among these was the portrait of the Ukrainian Canadian artist of world renown and personal friend of Orysia Sinitowich-Gorski's, Leo Mol. The portrait depicts Leo Mol sitting in a pew in Winnipeg's Metropolitan Cathedral of Sts. Volodymyr and Ol'ha against the backdrop of the awe inspiring stained glass windows of his design which adorn the cathedral. Leo Mol and his wife, Margarethe, were specially invited guests at the opening. The portrait was donated to Oseredok's permanent collection in a formal presentation to the president of Oseredok's Board of Directors, Mr.Ken Romaniuk.

The exhibit, however, not only reflected profound, thought inspiring themes but also belies the artist's whimsy of spirit as evidenced in her colourful depiction of the rooster who awakened her during her childhood years (5 a.m.) and her series of some 50 miniature coloured pen and ink caricatures which interweave humour, fantasy and reality.