Retrospective: Maria "Mika" Harasowska-Daczyszyn (1911 - 2000) -- inspirational artist and person at UNM


Maria "Mika" Harasowska-Daczyszyn

With wars part of Maria "Mika" Harasowska-Daczyszyn's life from her birth in Western Ukraine in 1911, her legacy is one of strength, vibrancy and an undying spirit.

"She was always laughing, smiling and inspiring others," said Michael Taran, Mika's grandson, during the opening of Retrospective: Maria "Mika" Harasowska-Daczyszyn (1911 - 2000) at the Ukrainian National Museum (UNM), 2249 W. Superior St. The show closes on Sun., Sept. 28. 

Harasowska grew-up during Communist Russia's attack on the Ukraine. She went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA)from Krakow Academy of Fine Arts in 1939, the only woman in her class to graduate with honors. 

She married Yurij Daczyszyn, a special agent (code named "Kryshtahl") in the Ukrainian


Maria with her husband Yurij Daczyszyn

Underground Army (UPA) during World War II.  "He was detained in a German Concentration camp while Mika cared for their daughter alone. To make ends meet, she made toys and dolls for a German orphanage," explained Taran.  "After the war, the family was reunited and lived in a Displaced Person’s (DP) camp in Aschaffenburg, Germany, where of course, she started an Art school.  

Small but mighty
"She was a woman of small physical stature, but that did not match her bold personality. With all the hardships she faced – she feared very little. Her spirit was unbreakable. 

"In the summer of 1982, Baba Mika took my sister and me downtown to see the movie E.T. We were waiting to transfer buses at State Street. An imposing ghetto thug showed up playing loud music on his boom box. Baba and the other adults at the bus stop asked him to turn it off, but he just turned the music volume up. 

"Baba started dancing. Then she started singing the lyrics. Even though she did not get a single word of the lyrics right, the crowd was cheering for her. After a minute, the guy walked away in shame, having been defeated in a rap battle by my 71-year-old Ukrainian immigrant grandmother. 


Ukrainian Vatra (fire folk)


Acsaffenburg, Germany in 1947

Her work
"Painting in oil, gouache and watercolor, she constantly drew with pen and pencil. Her pencil sharpening was unique. She took the biggest knife she could find, and carved, leaving a ridiculously long lead tip. She had a special touch that would not break the lead," said Taran. 

As described by Maria Klimchak, Ukrainian National Museum Curator, "Given her skilled use of color, she was able to capture the spirit of her country and its ethnic history.

"Her artwork is found in many patrons’ private collections, museums around Europe, the U.S., Canada, and also a Ukrainian art museum in Rome that was founded by Ukrainian Cardinal Patriarch Joseph Slipij.



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