UCU Presents Exhibit of Icons Painted by People with Special Needs

Friday, March 3, 2017

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More than 20 friends of the Emmaus Center took part in master classes of painting icons on glass, organized by the UCU Museum throughout the last year. The creative results were presented at an exhibit.

“This is St. Barbara,” says Liudmyla Talashchuk, a participant in the master classes, talking about her work. “When I painted this icon, I was in tenth heaven with happiness. It was hard for me to work on my own, but Olya, our teacher, showed me. And I also thank God that He always helps me.”

The author of the idea and the artistic director of the project, Olha Horda-Tsybko, says that it was easy to work with people with special needs: “When we were painting with the friends, I had no fear that any of them could not handle the assignment. I believed that everyone could create his or her own icon.”

Alongside the works of people with disabilities, the exhibit presented original icons of folk masters of the 19th century. The works of participants of the master classes confirm that you don’t need to be an artist to create an icon.

“To do this, perhaps, you need to have God in your heart,” said Andrii Tsybko, director of the UCU Museum. “So many people can create an icon from one sample: the works turn out absolutely different and original. They reflect the person’s soul, because they were painted sincerely.”

“During the master class I felt an inspiring, blessed atmosphere, much peace and joy,” says project participant Khrystyna Smolnytska, sharing her impressions. “When I painted an angel, I didn’t worry. For the person who is painting an icon receives inspiration from God.”

The exhibit of icons painted by people with special needs is a summary of the first stage of the iconography project. The plan is to continue the master classes this year.

“Icon-painting is not only art but prayer,” says Christina Angles d’Auriac, head of the Emmaus Center. “I know that for the friends it was a moment of peace, when they felt communion with God. It’s incredible that the Lord grants fruits to this process of work, not only to the results. That’s why this initiative is so precious.”

The exhibit was on display in the atrium of UCU’s Faculty of Theology and Philosophy until 1 March.

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