Ukrainian Artists United

An intimate look at artists connecting, resisting and healing through the power of music

February 1, 2023 — ongoing

A woman kneels beside a coffee table surrounded by books and heirlooms. Partially obscured.

Event details

Free with admission
Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Level 7

February 1, 2023 — ongoing.

Language and accessibility: English and Ukrainian with English and French captions.

Language and Accessibility:
In English and Ukrainian accompanied by English and French captions.

On February 24, 2022, Russia launched an unprovoked and unlawful military invasion of Ukraine. Coverage on the conflict has drawn international attention to the ongoing oppression of Ukraine by Russia. In an effort to highlight the human cost of the war, music producer Darcy Ataman and photographer Jason Willheim traveled to Lviv, Ukraine for nine days to connect with musicians and artists and capture their experiences.

The outcome is Ukrainian Artists United, a series of multi‐media portraits representing the unique story of each artist. Their stories, told through images, voiceover and music, provide insight into their lives as people who are impacted by the ongoing war.

The war on Ukraine has transfixed the eyes of the world with its senseless violence and malevolent attack on human rights on women, children and all those who comprise this prideful nation. Artists whose role in society is to act as foil and by proxy moral arbitrators for the collective unconscious have now traded their instruments for arms to defend their country.

Darcy Ataman, Make Music Matter Founder

Healing in Harmony program

A collection of songs from the Healing in Harmony program by Make Music Matter are also available in the gallery’s listening stations. The chosen music showcases the many ways people around the world struggle to protect their rights.

This installation was created by Darcy Ataman with the support of the CMHR.

As you engage with the installation, we encourage you to reflect on the impacts of conflict and the power of music

Feel free to use these questions as a starting point:

  • How has music impacted your life?
  • How can we show solidarity with the people of Ukraine impacted by war?
  • What can we do to make change happen in Ukraine and everywhere where conflict restricts the realization of people’s human rights?
  • What did you learn that you can share with your friends and family about the war in Ukraine and how it is affecting people’s lives there?

Featured artists

Ohla Balandiukh

Balandiukh is a singer, violinist, artist and model. Born in 1995 in Drohobych, Ukraine, she currently resides in Lviv. In 2020, she performed in the opera Ukraine — Terra Incognita and in the International Jazz festival Jazz Bez XX. In 2021, she sang in Kovcheh, a Ukrainian folk concert.

Sofiya Fedyna

Fedyna is a singer, academic, television presenter and activist. She is also a member of the Presidium of the World Federation of Ukrainian Lemki Associations and an associate Professor of the Department of International Relations and Diplomatic Service of Lviv University.

Bohdan Hrynko

Hrynko is a drummer, singer, and songwriter in the group Beton. Born in 1980 in Lviv, Ukraine, Bohdan has been fond of punk rock music from a young age. When he is not making music, Bohdan works as an architect.

Victor Dobko

Born in 1996 in Lviv, Ukraine, Dobko studied at the Yevshan Gymnasium and the Lviv College of Music. Since 2017, he has been studying at the Faculty of Philosophy of Lviv National University. In 2013, Victor founded the metal group Paradise From Your Dreams and has performed in many festivals and concerts.

Olena Kossak

Kossak was born and raised in Lviv, Ukraine. As a child, she attended the Dzvinochok School of Kobzar Art and participated in international festivals and concerts in Ukraine, Poland, Germany, France and Belgium. In 2011, she founded the group Oikumena in which she was able to explore musical improvisations. Currently, Kossak is an entrepreneur and a psychotherapist focusing on crisis therapy during the war.

Anna Shchybryk

Shchybryk is a musician based in Lviv, Ukraine. She represents the younger generation of Ukrainian musicians and is a veteran of several classical piano competitions. she is also a sound producer in the Ukrainian music project Repack and released the single “Vognyky” as a reflection of the war in Ukraine. Currently making music in the styles of drum n’ bass, hip‐hop and soultronica, she combines her creativity with her second career as a teacher.

Bohdan Mysyuga

Mysyuga was born in 1974 in Ivano‐Frankivsk, Ukraine. He graduated from the Carpathian National University and the doctoral program of the Lviv National Academy of Arts. He is the author of four monographic albums on Ukrainian art of the 20th century and over a hundred more publications. He taught at the National Academy of Arts for over ten years and currently works as a curator at the Museum of Modernism of the Lviv National Art Gallery.

Bablyak Lesya

Lesya was born in 1977 in Lviv, Ukraine, and she currently lives in Kyiv. She studied at the Lviv Ivana Trusha College of Decorative and Applied Arts and the Lviv Academy of Arts. She is a member of the Union of Visual Artists of Australia and the Ukrainian Foundation of Women Artists (W’ART).

Halyana Kruk

Born in 1974, Kruk is an award‐winning poet, translator, children’s writer and literary critic. She holds a PhD in Ukrainian Literature and is currently researching Ukrainian medieval literature. Her original works have been translated into over 20 languages and include five books of poetry, a collection of short stories and four children’s books. Her She was a vice‐president of the Ukrainian PEN and currently works as a professor of literary studies at Lviv National University.

Marksym Salo

Salo was born in Lviv, Ukraine where he currently lives with his two children. He studied philosophy and theology at the Ukrainian Catholic University. He currently works as an interpreter for Medical Volunteers International, an organization which provides medical care to refugees around the world. He is a singer at Lviv Armenian Cathedral choir and a member of the folk band Myklukho Maklay.

Volodymyr Yakymets

Yakymets was born in 1974 in Lviv, Ukraine. At the age of five, he entered music school and began to master piano. Later, he studied music theory at the Lviv State Music School and choral conducting at the Higher State Music Institute. During his studies, Yakymets founded a choir that became the Picardian Tert. Of the three hundred songs performed by the choir, a third are composed to his music.

Make Music Matter uses the creative process as a therapeutic tool to help empower marginalized communities. 

Darcy Ataman

As founder and CEO of Make Music Matter, Darcy Ataman has dedicated his work to bringing an innovative form of music therapy to survivors of conflict and trauma. In partnership with Nobel Laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege, he developed the “Healing in Harmony” program which is currently running in 8 countries around the world. In 2019, Ataman co‐founded A4A Records and Publishing, creating a model that ensures artists living in extreme poverty and conflict zones can continue to publish and retain ownership rights to their work. As a music and video producer, he has earned several Juno nominations and collaborates with creatives around the world. Most recently, he completed the score for celebrated producer and photographer Platon’s documentary film My Body is Not a Weapon.

Jason Willheim

Jason is a photographer based in Los Angeles, but his camera gear is always packed. His professional work has taken him to Kenya, South Africa, Borneo, Russia, China, France, Italy and Ukraine. Closer to home, he has explored the biker and drag racer subcultures in LA through photography. “I’m completely fascinated by people who pursue something just because they love it…doing it out of pure passion,” he states.