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Ukrainian artwork of Mary as a symbol of freedon

East Meets West: Marian Library exhibits feature Ukrainian art of devotion, resistance

Ukrainian artwork and cultural artifacts highlighting themes of freedom, war, resistance and religious devotion will be on display in two free, public Marian Library exhibits beginning May 1.

East Meets West consists of two companion exhibits — one with sacred works by women artists living in Ukraine and the second displaying pieces from the Marian Library’s existing Ukrainian catalog. Women Icon Makers of West Ukraine will be on display in the Stuart and Mimi Rose Gallery on the first floor of Roesch Library May 1 to June 30, and Halyna Nykolyshyn’s Ukrainian Marian Legacy will run May 1 to Nov. 10 in the gallery on the seventh floor of Roesch Library. 

“There has been a renewed interest in learning about Ukrainian culture and heritage due to the current ongoing crisis in Ukraine,” said Marian Library Assistant Director Kayla Harris. “This exhibit honors the legacy of former library employee, Halyna (Helen) Nykolyshyn, who established the Ukrainian Marian Collection in the Marian Library in the 1980s. Shown alongside the traveling exhibition from female artists living and working in Ukraine today, these materials are more important than ever in showing Ukrainian identity and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.”

Women Icon Makers of West Ukraine is a traveling exhibit of more than 30 works on loan from collector John A. Kohan’s Sacred Art Pilgrim collection. The exhibit was made possible with assistance from the ICONART Contemporary Sacred Art Gallery in Lviv, Ukraine, and spotlights eight women icon makers of the Lviv School who achieved recognition in a male-dominated genre. Their artwork integrates devotional traditions with modern innovations in color, composition and subject matter.

Halyna Nykolyshyn’s Ukrainian Marian Legacy displays the variety of materials in the Marian Library’s Ukrainian Marian Collection and recognizes the librarian, Nykolyshyn, who started the collection in 1981. Nykolyshyn, a Ukraine native who worked as cataloger for the Marian Library, established the collection to preserve artwork, manuscripts, stamps, news stories and other artifacts she collected from Ukrainian churches and cultural organizations throughout the United States and Canada.

The exhibit also features new acquisitions made possible by Nykolyshyn’s endowed fund that display the active Marian devotion in Ukraine today.

“Nykolyshyn’s outreach to Ukrainian church parishes, communities and individuals, built a collection that demonstrates a unique cultural identity and pride,” Harris said.

More information on both exhibits, including hours and holiday closures, is available onlineFor interviews, please contact Shannon Miller, associate director of news and communications, at


News and Communications Staff