Fort St. James artists are coming together to raise funds for Ukrainians amid Russia’s continued invasion of the Eastern European nation.
Retired rancher and Fort St. James artist Pat Gauthier said she’s always loved painting sunflowers. The sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower and has become a symbol of solidarity.
“Ukraine is the breadbasket of Europe. They grow the most sunflowers and produce the most sunflower oil,” Gauthier said.
“I’m not of Ukrainian descent but it really spoke to me to help out.”
She started small with a painted bookmark of a sunflower in support of Ukraine and the idea grew from there.
Gauthier got together with others in the area to sell their work as a group and donate the proceeds to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
Her own artwork had already raised $500 by Monday (March 17) with more orders already placed.
“I can’t put it up there fast enough. People really, really want to help. Most of what I’ve done is gone already. It’s turned into a series and I’ve done 15 pieces now.”
Another artist in the area who became involved is Corrie Wilkinson. She made a pair of moccasins in blue and yellow.
Gauthier said there are now artists across Canada helping “in their own little way” by painting sunflowers and either donating the proceeds or displaying artwork featuring sunflowers and the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag.
As interest continues to grow Fort St. James artist Shara Walsh has a Facebook page called Art for Ukraine where people can join the cause and be connected with buyers. It’s open to artists and anyone who owns artwork that they would like to sell to raise money for Ukrainians.
To be a part of it all you need to do is post your artwork to the Art For Ukraine Facebook event page including in the description, price, how to contact you to buy and that 100 per cent of proceeds will go to support Ukraine.
Gauthier said it’s a great way to contribute in a concrete way at a time when many Canadians are feeling anxious about the war and looking for ways to help.
“We have been getting interest from Vanderhoof wondering how they could post their work there. I even had one from Prince George that would like to post their work there, too,” Gauthier said. “Now we’ve opened it up across Canada.”