Discovering the mystery of the pysanka: a conversation with Sofika Zielyk


On Sunday, March 28 all interested had a chance to take part in an online lecture about one of the Ukrainian Easter symbols – the pysanka. The event was organized by the Archeparchy of Philadelphia and Eparchy Saint Volodymyr the Great of Paris under the title “Discovering the mystery of the pysanka: a conversation with Sofika Zielyk”. The invited speaker was Sofika Zielyk – a New-York-born and based artist and ethnographer whose profession is creating pysanky. Ségolène Mykolenko, chief of staff of Paris eparchy moderated the conference. 

The event started with a prayer and a short word from Metropolitan Borys Gudziak, who emphasized the importance of the symbolism of pysanky: 

“Pysanky are a matter of life and death because they have become these pre-Christian symbols. And this genre has become associated with Easter, which is a question of life and death. And the pysanka itself combines the power and beauty of the symbol, but also the great fragility and delicateness of our life. It reflects the fragility that can lead to our death, but it is actually a sign of new life. An egg is something from which a new life emerges”. 

After the word of the Archbishop, Ségolène Mykolenko introduced Sofika, emphasizing her passion for pysanky that started when she was a child : 

“She has developed her exquisite artistic approach as well as a very precise and knowledgeable approach of the ancient tradition”. 

During the conference, Sofika Zielyk discussed the ancient tradition of pysanky, their symbolism both pagan and Christian, and their regional characteristics. She also shared with the audience her projects: eggs, painted in the style of renowned artists such as Maria Pryymachenko and Kazymyr Malevych. The lecture ended with a step-by-step explanation of how to create pysanka. 

After the presentation ended, there was a Q&A session, moderated by Segolene Mykolenko, where all participants could ask particular questions or share and discuss their own experiences and thoughts with the audience.


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