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L.A. Beat

Galt Museum examines the impact of Ukrainian culture in Southern Alberta

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The Galt Museum  explores the influence of Ukrainian  culture in Lethbridge and Southern Alberta with their new  exhibit “Transplanted  Sunflowers: the Ukrainian  Immigrant  Experience.

 The exhibit focuses on seven influential individuals and organizations that have kept eyes on Ukrainian Culture.


Bobbie Fox examines the Troyanda Ukrainian Dancers display from Transplanted Sunflowers. Photo by Richard Amery

“We highlight seven different individuals or organizations which really important to the  Southern Alberta Community,” summarized co-curator Bobbie Fox, who worked on the exhibit with co-curator  Hannah Yuzwa to create different panels on the walls of the  Galt Museum foyer outside the main exhibit room featuring groundbreaking photographers, the Gushul family, Troyanda  Ukrainian dance company and Anastasia Serada, who   was one of the first dancers when the troupe formed in 1994.  Project Sunflower which  is an organization set up  right after the current war against Russia to help resettle Ukrainian families; legendary NHL hockey player Vic Stasiuk and Mary Romanuk

 In addition to informational panels, there is also an exhibit featuring some of the traditional Ukrainian clothing worn by the Troyanda Dancers and videos plus a panel about the crisis in Ukraine.


“Thomas and Lina Gushul set up a photography. business when they moved to Coleman in 1906. Thomas and his son developed photographic techniques that are still used today. They chronicled life in the early twentieth century,”  said Fox, noting  the most famous photograph is reproduced for the exhibit, is of the Green Hill gas mine in 1945.

 He wanted to photograph the mine, but couldn’t use flash because he didn’t want to blow everything up. So the miners strategically placed their lanterns and it became known as ‘painting with light,’ Fox continued.

 “Evan worked at the research centre. He developed a lens that could be used in -40 weather and that could be used to photograph insects so they could be examined in great detail,” she said.


 The Troyanda Dancers are part of the exhibit.

 The Galt Museum will be hosting several presentations including a pirogie making workshop, Nov. 10.

“Troyanda are a wonderful story. They contribute a lot to the community with their performances and cooking workshops. They also do performances in schools because Ukrainian culture is part of the Grade 3 Social Studies curriculum,” Fox said.

Anastasia Sereda gets the spotlight as well.

“She was one of the first dancers with Troyanda in 1994 when she was really young. She‘s an amazing lady,“ Fox enthused.

Another prominent Ukrainian community member Mary Romanuk.


“She was instrumental in safeguarding the Ukrainian.  Part of our archives in the 1950, 60s and 70s. The Ukrainian wall in the Galt m Museum is because of her,” Fox said.


The exhibits highlights Project Sunflower.

“They are an organization that just formed (after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine). They help get displaced Ukrainian people get resettled. They’ve become a really important organization in Southern Alberta,” she said.


 The exhibit  honours Vic Stasiuk.

“ He was an NHL player who played with the Boston Bruins. He was part of the Uke line (with Johnny Buckyk and Joseph (Bronco) Horvath in the late ’50s) and was a coach. He was also an important part of Paradise Canyon golf course. I think he gave them the land for it. He was a real force of nature,” Fox said.


The exhibit gets serious with an overview of  Ukrainian internment camps  during the second World War, which were located by Exhibition Park.

And there is another panel about events in Ukraine happening now.


 And Lethbridgians efforts to  preserve historical archives.


“We’re hoping people will see how much  Ukrainian culture has contributed to Southern Alberta. For example, most people have pirogies in their freezers and at Easter, what do we do? Colour Easter eggs, Ukrainian style,” she said.

“So we hope the exhibition will spark  conversation and understanding,” she said.

Transplanted Sunflowers: The Ukrainian Immigrant Experience runs at the Galt Museum until April 7.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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