With an aim to support the Canadian Red Cross for Ukrainian Relief, Vancouverite Kelsey Dundon has designed a gorgeous sunflower illustrated T-shirt ($30), with all of the net proceeds being donated to the cause. The shirt is called Sonyashnyk, which is Ukrainian for sunflower. We chatted with Kelsey to learn more. —Noa Nichol
Hi Kelsey! Please tell us a bit about your artistic self to start.
I’m a Vancouver-based writer and creative director.
Tell us about the personal inspiration behind this design, and why it is important to you to contribute to this cause.
I’m devastated by what’s happening in Ukraine right now. If you know anyone who has been impacted by war—and I imagine we all do—you see that it doesn’t ever leave them. Not truly. My baba (Ukrainian for grandmother) was a Ukrainian refugee. When Mike Lyall of 6-OH-4 Clothing invited me to collaborate with him on a T-shirt benefiting humanitarian aid in Ukraine, I looked to my baba for inspiration. She was a talented, prolific artisan and I still have many of the pieces she made.
The design itself is a sunflower in a cross-stitch pattern in yellow; what is the significance of those details?
The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine and it carries its own beautiful symbolism: sunflowers stand tall, they stand together, and they turn their faces toward the light. They also grew each summer in the field beside the Ukrainian church just down the street from my baba’s house. I drew the sunflower in a cross-stitch style as an homage to my baba who was so, so skilled in the craft. The heart was a late addition to the design and now feels like the most vital element because compassion is crucial to helping alleviate some of the terrible suffering in Ukraine right now.
What are your personal thoughts on the situation in Ukraine, and how it is impacting the people there?
Like everyone who has been watching this tragedy unfold, my heart is broken. This is too much trauma, too much devastation to even comprehend. But, like Mr. Rogers’s mother once said to him, a sentiment I now repeat to my own kids: Look for the helpers. With this initiative, we’re hoping to help the helpers.
Win! 1 of 3 Sonyashnyk T-Shirts!
Though the sale of these shirts benefits the Red Cross’ humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, Kelsey has kindly offered to give away three shirts to three lucky Canadian winners, in order to spread the message about the situation and the cause. Congrats Vanessa R. of Saskatoon, SK, Sandra S. of Dartmouth, NS, and Irina A. of Richmond Hill, ON! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.