Taras Polataiko: Someone Prays for You

On view June 14 – September 2, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 24, 4–6PM

Taras Polataiko is a Ukrainian-Canadian artist living in Chernivtsi, Ukraine—Saskatoon’s sister city. Someone Prays for You is a collaborative photo series he made to showcase the works of elderly artists in Chernivtsi and to bring attention to Russia’s full-scale re-invasion.

In Ukraine, the war has spurred mass mobilization, with everyone helping however they can. In this spirit, elderly Ukrainians volunteered their art to be photographed as part of a fundraiser for civilian defenders on the front lines. Since 2022, Polataiko has been selling the photographs and putting all proceeds towards the needs of civilian defenders, as well as the elderly artists who volunteered their works.

The name of the fundraiser has been adopted for this exhibition. It is taken from a poem entitled “The Mother” from Ukrainian poet Halyna Kruk, which describes a mother praying for her son fighting in Eastern Ukraine.

Taras Polataiko was born in Ukraine. He moved to Canada in 1989 to complete his MFA at University of Saskatchewan. In 2002, he represented Ukraine at the Sao Paulo Biennale of Contemporary Art. Among other international forums where the artist represented Ukraine and Canada are the Tel Aviv Biennale of Video and the Korean Biennale of Contemporary Art.

The Ukrainian Museum of Canada purchased the photographs in this exhibition with funds raised through our 2022 Yarmarok raffle. All proceeds from our purchase were used to purchase protective equipment and medical supplies for civilian defenders.