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For those in NYC, through late August, you can view two traditional pysanky I created at the Pysanka: A Symbol of Hope Exhibit curated by Dr. Sofika Zielyk. This stunning installation of traditional pysanky fundraising for those affected by the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is well worth the look. And for those who wish to participate, you can even send your own pysanky, traditional designs, with a note. All pysanky will be forwarded to Ukraine to help with the sense of wellbeing among those there, in addition to the funds raised. In some lore, pysanky are seen to have ritual uses, such as burying them in fields to assure a better harvest (hey–eggshells are amazing calcium. Nolie also offers acid-etched, non-varnished eggshells for this very purpose, for those who do not want aniline dyes in their vegetable garden). At every level, Pysanka: A Symbol of Hope is an immersive experience shaped to bring communities the deepest sense of what it means to write a pysanka–how each eggshell is an act of hope, protest art, and tangible determination to bring about change.
Nolie’s designs were from a variety of sources–including an heirloom design submitted with the permission of the family who brought it from overseas originally. Nolie was fortunate to recreate the design after their pysanky broke, and with their permission, created a copy to send to Dr. Zielyk for this one-of-a-kind display.
As a makeup artist, Nolie often was asked why they preferred to work in a medium that was inherently ephemeral. Makeup, by its very nature, must wash off the face. Hairstyles will be combed and washed out. Why spent hours turning the body into art that would wash away?
The same reason to create art on eggshells. Because the fragility of it is like holding hope and joy in one’s hand. And hope and joy, like beauty, are around in the most unlikely of places.