Joint Exhibit @ The Hearth Gallery

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From October 11th to 23rd, the Hearth presents an exhibition of paintings and drawings reflecting on ancestry, connections, and memories. Leanne Romak, local artist, and Sonya Iwasiuk, based in Vancouver, have in common their Ukrainian heritage and their deep interest in the stories of the people who walked before them.

Where The Grass is Green

Sonya Iwasiuk’s series, “You Are My Home”, speaks largely of connections to our past, people, and places. In her mixed media painting, she addresses the importance of shelter and a safe place to be. Using words, symbols, and lines, she also illustrates the unseen emotional connections that we find to nurture our bonds while apart. Online spaces, for instance, are invisible ties that hold us together when physically separated; memories and legacies of the spirits who left us are other elements that can provide a sense of connection.

“I often intensely research the histories of people, places, and particular events. By revealing the past I have realized how strongly it speaks of the present.”

– Sonya Iwasiuk


In 2010, Leanne Romak found old photographs in the attic of her father’s family farmhouse in Manitoba. These pictures were taken by her Ukrainian uncle in the 1940’s.  While the individual stories of her ancestors are mostly lost in time, these captured moments show them in the embrace of home and community.

These bits of past lives remain today for our own reflection and interpretation; everyone can find a personal story in what they see. Inspired by the narrative power of these printed memories, Leanne Romak decided to transform these momentos through her creative and artistic lens.

With a tint of nostalgia, she highlights the social web that extends across people and time and the fact that we all take our turn as memory keepers.

I am inspired by these photos and feel compelled to engage in the process to bring them to life as a series of images that bathe the viewer in nostalgia and delight.

– Leanne Romak