Monday, September 29, 2014

Spotlight On: Alexa Pavliuc

This is the next installment in a fresh series of "Spotlight On" profiles that aims to share the exciting work and efforts of young Ukrainian-Canadian leaders today, and how their work is shaping the future of our community. From the arts to academia, there are many exciting conversations and events happening around us that should be celebrated and promoted. There is much to be learned from their fresh perspectives on a variety of topics, and we ask that you please take a moment to support their efforts by spreading their messages, sharing events and info, and perhaps getting involved yourself!

Alexa Pavliuc loves to create. Painting, pysanky, printmaking - she does it all and a lot more. A ‘podruha’ of the hurtok “Мухомори” at Plast, dancer in Arkan, second-year Ryerson Communications (and Physics!) student, and concert photographer for music website, I was lucky to catch a few minutes with her to chat about what she’s up to next!

Alexa is the artist behind “Rynok Square” - a beautiful and intricate 4-piece watercolour depicting Lviv’s famous Ploscha Rynok. It is a city square of galleries, cafes, kiosks, and cafes in downtown Lviv. With its vibrant mix of people, buildings, churches, hotels and storefronts, it serves as the cultural heart of Lviv, and arguably the cultural heart of Ukraine.
"Rynok Square" (watercolour & ink) by Alexa Pavliuc
"Rynok Square" (watercolour & ink) by Alexa Pavliuc

Alexa gave me some background on how this piece came to be; “Rynok Square was a project that I created for my final art summative project in high school - every person in it is actually a friend of mine with whom I travelled there with for the worldwide Plast Jamboree UMPZ 2012. Rynok Square is one of the places that always will inspire me, and I plan to return there many more times. The black building in the middle of the block is a museum for Ukrainian art made by members of the diaspora, and my dream is to one day see a piece of mine hanging on the walls!”

A print of Alexa’s work has already gathered a following! The owners of the “On The Square” Guesthouse have the print hanging in their hotel, and will be selling prints from their hotel. Currently one can obtain prints of “Rynok Square” at the ptashka arts site on Etsy.

"Czehoski's" (Mixed Media) by Alexa Pavliuc
"Czehoski's" (Mixed Media) by Alexa Pavliuc
Continuing the project, Alexa is currently working on a piece depicting the the Lviv City Hall, from the perspective of the aforementioned guesthouse. She is also working on an illustration of the mayor’s house - significant, as half of it was blown up (intentionally) during the few periods of unrest in Lviv earlier this year. Fortunately the mayor and his family were away at the time, and only the building was damaged.

In addition to her art, Alexa volunteers actively in Plast and dances in Arkan Dance Company. For her years of dedication and involvement, Alexa was awarded a Community Involvement Scholarship from Ukrainian Credit Union Limited this spring.

The translated "Plastovyj Zakon"
on Alexa's phone
Last year, as part of her involvement with Plast, Alexa took on a group of thirteen 13-year-olds called the “мухомори” - a poisonous mushroom varietal and symbol in Plast that symbolizes the need to be careful and diligent in everything one does... In addition to planning and leading exciting weekly sxodyny with her hurtok, she accompanied her hurtok for two weeks of hiking, canoeing, and wilderness experiences in Algonquin Park this August. Earlier this summer she also volunteered as the Crafts Coordinator for the younger kids’ (novatskyj) Plast camp, and really learned to love cutting fabric into squares.

"I love being a podruha because I get to be a role model for my girls. I had the best possible yunatstvo experience, and want to pass that on to my 13 yunachky. Also, I just couldn't bear the thought of no more Plast once university started. My life has been shaped by Plast and its teachings (14 tochky), I can only hope that my yunachki will get as much out of yunatstvo as I did. My favourite rule is to stay level-headed when situations get tough, or stressful. I remind myself of that daily and strive to live up to all 14 rules each day, in fact, a list of them is my phone’s background!"

We also spoke about events in Ukraine, and how they've affected our community.

"As the daughter of the woman with the “F*ck off Putin” sign (seen at many anti-Putin demonstrations around Toronto this year), a passion for the justice and the rule of law runs deep. As the situation in Ukraine unfolds, I find myself wishing that there were more protests, more fundraisers, and more awareness. I also find myself trying to come up with the ‘perfect painting’ to raise awareness and pay respect to those who have lost their lives and are now suffering. My visions are not yet refined enough to put on canvas, but one of these days they will be. So there’s more to come from me, I promise."

Fast Facts:
Ukrainian quotation: "Іди шукай її по світу, через гори і ліси" (від пісні Не журіться юні друзі)
Food: makivnik (poppy seed bread!)
Ukrainian hero: Poroshenko
University course:Toss up between physics and art history
Art form: Ukrainian dance!

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