Review article: Published in The Ukrainian Weekly, April 15, 2005


T he Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Center at St. Katherine Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Arden Hills (Minneapolis/St. Paul vicinity), Minnesota hosted a fascinating exhibit of the art of Orysia Sinitowich-Gorski, an artist well known artist in the Ukrainian community in Winnipeg, Canada, on Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2, 2006.   The exhibit was attended by members of the Ukrainian community of Minneapolis, St. Paul and   surrounding areas.   Mr. Oleh Gregoret, president of the Cultural Center, introduced the artist and Dr. Alexandra Pawlowsky, professor at the University of Manitoba, who assisted in organizing this exhibit.   The focal point of the exhibit was the artist's striking artistic homage to the 1932-33 Holodomor/Famine-Genocide in Ukraine through her work of the same title.   In opening the exhibit, Mrs. Maya Gregoret lit candles to honor the victims of the genocide.   Dr. Pawlowsky then acquainted the audience with Pani Orysia's art.  

            The artist has already had a large and successful "solo" exhibit featured at the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre "Oseredok" in Winnipeg, and has taken part in a number of group exhibitions in that city.   It bears noting that Winnipeg is the historical hub of Ukrainian Canadian religious, social and cultural life and activity.   Several other art exhibits are planned in Canada and the United States in the near future.              

Pani Orysia was born and grew up in Hafford, Saskatchewan.   She developed her artistic talents on the lap   of her dear father Hryhoriy, a descendant of the talented hutsul Sinitowich family.   After graduating as a medical technician, Pani Orysia met and married Dr. Bronislaw Gorski.   His medical career led them to Winnipeg, where their children - Khrystia, Tamara and Antos grew up in involved in the activities of the large Ukrainian community there. And this is where Pani Orysia found a venue for the expression of her artistic talents.   She studied under   renowned artists Taras Korol and Nic Bjelacic.  

Pani Orysia is a third generation Ukrainian Canadian, yet as evident in her art, she remains closely tied to the concerns and realities of her ancestral homeland and the Ukrainian diaspora.   At the same time, however, she is integrally involved with mainstream issues that supercede the boundaries of ethnicity.  

Executed primarily through the media of oils and acrylics, some of the pieces reflect a realistic, "photographic" style.   This is particularly true of the portraits which depict, for example, the powerful religious figure Metropolyt Andrey Sheptytsky.   They are, however, also representative of the cultural and ethnic diversity of North America.   For example, Chief Phil , a portrait of Chief Phil Fontaine (grand chief of Canada's Assembly of First Nations), Leo's Windows, a portrait of Leo Mol (world renowned sculptor and artist ), Pas de Deux,   a portrait of prima ballerina Evelyn Hart (formerly of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet).

Other of her works employ a mixture of impressionistic and avant-garde styles.   This is particularly true of those works which intermix the ideals of human rights and her Ukrainian heritage.   For example, her aforementioned   Holodomor/Famine-Genocide (striking images of the victims of Ukraine's famine genocide of 1932-33), Democracy? (a demonstration on the streets of Ukraine's capital Kyiv, completed in 2003, an ominous precursor to the Orange Revolution of 2004 and the events that continue to affect Ukraine and Ukrainian politics even today).   Her Arise, Ukraine! spurs the Ukrainian nation to take further strides towards achieving permanent democracy.

The same tendency towards the avant-garde is reflected in one of her most recent pieces Manitoba Mosaic .   This piece portrays, through the emblems symbolic of Ukraine (trident), Manitoba (bison), and Canada (maple leaf), the symbiotic unity of Canada's multicultural landscape. There are also examples of pastoral scenes from Ukraine and Canada, the glory of the Ukrainian icon and the serene beauty of still life.

The exhibit also belies the artist's whimsy of spirit.   This is evidenced in her 5 a.m . a colorful depiction of the rooster who awakened her every morning during her childhood years.   It is also so very visible in her series of some 50 miniature colorful pen-and-ink caricatures, originally created on scraps of paper as a weekly weekend farewell for her co-worker, which interweave humor, fantasy and reality.

Pani Orysia and Dr. Bronislaw Gorski have 3 children and 2 grandchildren.   Their daughter Tamara of Los Angeles and son Antos and his wife Robyn and their grandson Christopher Aiden, of Lansing, Iowa were present at the exhibit.   Daughter Chrystia, her husband Ivan Makar and granddaughter Oriana Kateryna of New York City, who could not be present, nonetheless enhanced the display area with their gift of springtime flowers.   Both of her grandchildren have inspired the artist's creativity.   Pani Orysia was pleased to have the opportunity to have her new grandson present the first time she showed a particular one of her new works "Sunflowers".   Painted at the time of his birth the sunflower is representative of the Ukrainian, Canadian and American landscapes, which reflect all of Aiden's ancestral roots.  

Orysia Sinitowich-Gorski presents her art under the name "Iskry"/"Living Embers" and some of her pieces are featured and can be viewed at

Maya Gregoret
for the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Center, Arden Hills, Minnesota