Motankas (Мотанка) are ancient Ukrainian talismans believed to embody female spirit and power. They symbolize goodness, prosperity, and hope. A Motanka placed in a home is believed to protect the family, absorbing diseases, and safeguarding the household from evil spirits.
The 5,000-year-old tradition of Motanka mirrors the ongoing resolve of Ukrainian women to defend and protect their families and homes, ensuring the survival of Ukrainian culture and ethnicity. When the Russian army crossed the eastern border of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, to conduct a “special military operation”, many predicted Ukraine would fall to the superior military power. It soon became evident that the will of the Ukrainian army and citizens had been underestimated. Women and children were mobilized to evacuate their homeland. But many women chose to stay. These women came together as they would for a book club or making pysanky, but instead they made Molotov cocktails and took up arms.
Ukrainian Museum of Canada – Saskatoon
Force Field – installation of 100 Motanka, each talisman approx. 3in x 3in x 12in (7.6cm x 7.6cm x 30.5cm) – Fabric, threads, embroidery threads, with various items placed in their heads to facilitate powers for healing and protecting.