Shevchenko Museum Insider's Look

Statue of Taras Shevchenko

Statue of Taras Shevchenko

Lyudmyla Pogoryelova, Director of the Taras Shevchenko Museum, has selected the head of a statue of Ukrainian poet and artist Taras Shevchenko (accession number - 05.01.2006. Dimensions: H: 60 cm, W: 40 cm, D: 50cm. Bronze).


Taras Shevchenko, born a surf in Ukraine in 1814, became an internationally acclaimed poet and artist, a champion of people's freedom, recognized twice and celebrated by UNESCO as an intellect of world stature, and has been an iconic figure for every Ukrainian. When thousands of Ukrainians came to Canada 125 years ago to farm and develop the country, they brought Shevchenko's book of poetry KOBZAR with them to the new world. Shevchenko's love of common humanity and his courage in the face of adversity, served the immigrants well in their daily struggles to establish themselves and build a better future for their children.  Shevchenko was their inspiration. 


The Shevchenko monument erected in Oakville, Ontario on July 1st, 1951 was the very first Shevchenko monument in the Americas. Later monuments of him were unveiled in Winnipeg, Washington, Buenos-Aires, Ottawa, and more. Today there are over 1300 monuments to Taras Shevchenko around the world. This monument of him in faraway Canada was chopped to pieces almost 200 years after he was born and sold for its bronze in December 2006.  The head of the poet is all that is left of the large monument of him in Oakville. The damaged head of the statue was found by the police in a scrap metal facility in Burlington, Ontario. 

Prosecuted for the political content of his poetry, Shevchenko was arrested many times and was forced into exile where he spent 10 years of his life suffering tremendously.  Shevchenko's life and work speaks to us today. He teaches us to live with dignity and respect, to love culture, to learn from each other, and to fight for the better for all humankind.