Story and photo by Serge Taran
Art Knows no Borders
Story and photo by Serge Taran
31st Annul Ukrainian Pisanka Festival took place at St. Barbara Orthodox Christian Church of Fort Worth, TX. It is colorful fund-raiser featuring a wide assortment of chicken, goose, duck, and ostrich eggs, elaborately decorated with traditional Ukrainian motifs such as plants, animals, geometric shapes, and specifically Christian symbols.
Many people came from across the Metroplex and North Texas to attend the event. Many come to admire Ukrainian Ester eggs and see how this wonderful and unique folk art is done.
Christine Zibrun, the Chairperson of the Festival explains:
“Ukrainian wooden painted eggs are called “Pysanky” which comes from the Ukrainian word “py-sah-ty” which means “write”, because we are writing the Message of Resurrection on the eggs themselves.
It is once a year that we do our Annual Pysanky Festival sometime called Ukrainian Easter Egg Festival. We have parishioners and the friends of the parish of the St. Barbara Orthodox Church who help us to make all of these eggs. And some of them are young children, and the youngest that helped this year is 11 years old, all the way up to our senior citizens. And we work on the eggs all year to have enough for this event. We do that always just before Western Easter.
I am the Chairperson of the Festival, and I am the Priest’s wife, and I am a member of the parish. And I love this, I grew up with this tradition in Eastern Pennsylvania. This is what we did every year to prepare for Paskha, for Easter.”
Serge Taran: How many eggs do you have this year at this exhibition today?
Christine Zibrun: We started with 80 dozen chicken eggs, we also have goose, ostrich, quail, others, and as you can see we have sold a lot already. Today is the last day of the Festival, and we have sold quite a bit.
ST: How do you see the importance of this event?
CZ: It is a cross-generational event. This is a wonderful event for people to come as a family. It is good to teach the children about the symbolism and about the tradition not only about the church but about the Easter season. What a wonderful folklore to teach the young children. They learn about the geography, where other people live, where they started. They learn about the history, and they learn art. They learn mathematics, they learn how we do those eggs, and how we divide the designs. This is wonderful for the whole family to come, and as you can see we have many, many families, because they want their children to see what this is.
The Dallas Telegraph spoke to guests of the exhibition. Father Nicholas Hadzellis of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church told us:
“Everything is very nice here at the exhibition, and the art on the eggs is fantastic, some of them you can’t describe how beautiful they are. The people seem to be very friendly and interested in the eggs, and they have good time. My entire family is here. We have four children, and they all love eggs in general. But they definitely love this style of Easter eggs.”
Father Robert Weber, of Saint Peter Orthodox Church in Fort Worth, shared: “I think it is very blessed event. There are a lot of people here. They seem to be very interested. And the eggs are beautiful. It is very spiritual, it is very moving, and it is beautiful. The eggs that I bought for my two girls are a little asymmetrical, they have a little different look to them, and the circles are little offset. And they are just a real appeal to me. Girls will love them!”
Monica Altemirano, born in Guadalajara, Mexico, also bought some eggs: “I was impressed to see how some eggs are very, very similar to some tribes that still live in Mexico, as Nayarites, who live in Nayarit, and some in Oaxaca, and the other tribe is Wicholes. I could almost think that these eggs are made by them. So, it makes me think that we are all connected. The design that I saw on the eggs would be the same design that Nayrites are using to do what they do as little towels, they do cloth, they do necklaces, they also do bracelets, using almost the same arrangement of drawings. So, if you were to come to me and ask, if that was made by Nayrites, I would say, ‘Oh, yes’. I can relate to that.“
Tina Dolkey, from Chicago, is visiting her daughter in Fort Worth.
“I saw that on the TV, and missing home as my grandparents and my mom being Ukrainian, I just had to come to see the pysankas. I was married at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Chicago, my parents came from Austria, but they are Ukrainian. I was baptized there and made my communion and also got married there almost 48 years ago. And I love that church, there is nothing like Ukrainian church. Today I bought some eggs for my sister in Las Vegas, because she is an artist.
Sarah Goldman visited Ukraine about three years ago, and she was very interested to come and look the exhibition. She said: “I bought pysanky eggs, because they are beautiful, and they remind me of Ukraine and also a matryoshka doll for my niece, also because of Ukraine and some cards for my friends that used to be stationed in Ukraine. So, they would know that I was thinking of them today. I definitely think it is very important that people realize the beauty of this art, and the history of culture of Ukraine. And how it still exists today with the artisans here in America, because a lot of people, I am sure, do not know about it.”
Micky Smith was born to Japanese family in Missouri: “Very nice exhibition! On the eggs… it is really very interesting, I look at the patterns, and I see Asian there too. Because like different art that Japanese make, I see a lot of similarities, but this is absolutely beautiful that is all done by hand, each one. It is beautiful!“
Amber Carpley, young member of the St. Barbara Orthodox Christian Church shared: “I did some egg paining before, this year I help at the exhibition. I check the people, I wrap the eggs and help at the door. I like pisnkas because they are very detailed, and the images mean different things on the eggs that symbolize our spiritual life and roots. ”