The idea to paint or “write” this icon came to me one day when I was visiting the Kashubian region of Canada, the picturesque towns of Wilno, Barry’s Bay, and Combermere. This very distinct region is quite similar to the Kashubian Region in Poland with its abundance of rolling hills, flowing streams and rivers, clean lakes and vast forests that provide shelter to a variety of wild animals.

I met many Kashubs, descendants of the first Kashubian settlers, the strong-willed people who came from so far away to make Canada their home. These people, with their determination, pride, honesty, honor and, most of all with their resolute faith, inspired me. It was this region as well as the great faith and love of these people for the Virgin Mary which inspired me to write this icon -- The Virgin Mary of Kashuby.

This icon is one of a kind. There is no other like it in the world. It is decorated with Kashubian art motifs, where the three shades of blue symbolize the sea, the lakes and the sky. This blue Madonna with Child commemorates and celebrates Canada’s unique Polish Kashub cultural heritage.

The icon by the hand of Janusz Charczuk.

Egg tempera on wood, priming on textile, background 23K gold leaf.

40.0 x 28.5cm (15.75 x 11.25 in )