The Ukrainian community in Montreal had a new symbol of hope unveiled Friday as the community continues to grapple with the Russian invasion of their country.
Standing just across from the Saint Sophie Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Montreal's Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie, the egg was created by artist Giorgia Volpe as an homage to Ukraine's future.
Pysanka, the colourfully and intricately painted eggs, are symbols of hope and resurrection during Easter celebrations.
The concrete egg's white interlacing ribbons also symbolize the past and ongoing exchanges between Montreal and Ukrainians who have immigrated here, Volpe said. The piece's title, Entrelacs, comes from the French word for interlacing.
"It's open and never closed," Volpe, who is Brazilian, said on Friday, as she described the piece at its unveiling in Parc de l'Ukraine.
"It's an homage for … the peace that we need a lot in this time."
The sculpture is the latest piece of public art to be unveiled by the city of Montreal, with Volpe chosen after a competition with the Bureau d'art public.
She was one of 25 artists invited to submit proposals to work with the borough and the Ukrainian community on the project. The process started about a year ago but the unveiling came at a time that was poignant for the city's Ukrainians.
Eugene Czolij, the honorary consul for Ukraine in Montreal, said it's the perfect time to recognize Ukrainians' contributions to Quebec, with pysanky being one of those.
"Throughout the world during Easter celebrations Ukrainians, including Ukrainian soldiers, were exchanging pysanky to give them that feeling of hope… That Ukraine will also rise from the destruction that we're seeing today, and will renew itself into the beautiful country that it was," he said.
The sculpture is also meant to be interactive, and you can sit in it to get a better look at what's on the inside.
"I tried to make a piece that's open to the neighbourhood and invite children to go inside," Volpe said. "You can also have a relationship with it."
The director of the Sheptytsky Ukrainian School said she wants her students to see it up close.
"I think we'll have to arrange a visit here to the park and experience it for ourselves," Daria Humenny said.
"It is a symbol of rebirth," she added. "We have that hope that after this fight Ukraine will emerge sovereign, independent, and better than it was."