Ukrainian Pioneer Furniture (1992-93)

This exhibit gave a graphic picture of Ukrainian Pioneer beginnings in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in the first quarter of the 20th century. Many immigrants settled in tracts of land where they had access to forests. This provided wood for construction, for making tools and furniture, and firewood for cooking and heating.

According to Prof. John Flemming of the University of Toronto, except for carved trunks/chests, early immigrants could rarely afford to bring furniture from Ukraine. Prof. Flemming categorized the early furniture built by Ukrainian pioneers into three styles. The folk style used traditional techniques of design and construction. The high style was adapted from observing styles seen in homes of rich landowners and officials in Ukraine. The catalogue style was adapted from pieces seen in Canadian mail order catalogues.

The exhibition, borrowed from private collections, included cupboards, storage chests, benches, tables and ornamental items. Visitors from various immigrant backgrounds easily related to the colourful peasant baroque forms and styles of Ukrainian folk tradition as transposed and adapted to life on the Canadian prairies.

For more information regarding this exhibit, please contact the Ukrainian Museum of Canada - Ontario Branch. A catalogue which was published to accompany the exhibit is available for $5 plus shipping and handling costs.