Ukrainian heritage honored in two new UD library exhibits

Companion exhibits at the University of Dayton’s Roesch Library spotlight themes of freedom, war, resistance and religious devotion in the university’s latest showing, “East Meets West.”

Set up in the library’s first floor Stuart and Mimi Rose Gallery is the “Women Icon Makers of West Ukraine” collection, which is on loan for the summer from collector John A. Kohan’s “Sacred Art Pilgrim” collection.

The over 30-piece exhibit highlights the lives of eight Ukrainian women who are recognized as icon makers at the Lviv School. The eight artists and icon makers featured include Ivanka Demchuk, Kateryna Kuziv, Natalya Rusetska, Kateryna Shadrina, Hlafira Shcherbak, Ulyana Tomkevych, Lyuba Yatskiv and Khrystyna Yatsyniak.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has drummed up interest and curiosity into the country’s culture, history and heritage, according to Marian Library Assistant Director Kayla Harris. The dual exhibit also has history with the university, too.

“This exhibit honors the legacy of former library employee, Halyna (Helen) Nykolyshyn, who established the Ukrainian Marian Collection in the Marian Library in 1980,” Harris said. “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.”

Several floors up from the Rose Gallery, Nykolyshyn is recognized in the “Halyna Nykolyshyn’s Ukrainian Marian Legacy” exhibit in the Marian Library Gallery. This collection honors the librarians work that preserved news stories, artwork, stamps, manuscripts and other materials from Ukrainian churches found throughout the United States and Canada.

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

An endowed fund in Nykolyshyn’s name allowed the library to acquire new materials for the collection that “display the active Marian devotion in Ukraine today,” the university said.

Kettering Councilwoman Jyl Hall will speak on the importance of preserving Ukrainian culture on Wednesday, June 7 at 4 p.m. in the second floor gathering space of Roesch Library. Hall said she hopes to increase awareness and appreciation for the iconography of Ukraine that is now being threated and erased.

The “Women Icon Makers of West Ukraine” exhibit will be on display through the end of June. The “Halyna Nykolyshyn’s Ukrainian Marian Legacy” exhibit will continue into the fall as students return to campus for the semester, closing Nov. 10.

For more information on the companion Ukraine exhibits and gallery hours, visit

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