A group of Vancouver Island rock painters are joining a growing movement of people around the world using sunflowers as a show of support for Ukraine.
The country’s national flower, the sunflower, has quickly become a symbol of resistance against Russia’s invasion.
With close to 3,000 members, the Vancouver Island Painted Rocks Facebook group is committed to painting at least 500 sunflower rocks by March 6, each of which will be hidden around Vancouver Island for people to find. Group administrator Kathy Cameron said she hopes each coming discovery brings awareness to Ukraine and sends a message of love and encouragement.
“People think they can’t make a difference but by one act, one person can affect a whole group, which then affects a larger community, which can have a ripple effect,” she said.
Only two days into the project, 49 people had already shared photos of their creations to the Facebook group.
Angela Susi is one of them. Having grown up in Berlin, Susi said she can empathize with what Ukrainians are going through now.
“I was there when the wall went up, and I know what it’s like to have Russian tanks rolling into your street.”
Now a Central Saanich resident, she said the last few weeks have been extremely emotional for her.
“People are feeling like I am – helpless – because there’s nothing really you can do. But saying a prayer or showing a small gesture of support, hopefully as a big group means something.”
The rocks will come with a donation too. Victoria business Serano Properties, which is owned by one of the Facebook group administrators, Julia Sahota, has agreed to donate $1 for the first 500 rocks painted.
“It’s something you can really put your heart into,” Sahota said.
Because rock painting is a worldwide hobby, the three women are hopeful their project could spread beyond the Island too.
“It’s small steps towards a big effort,” Cameron said. “One sunflower at a time.”