Project Maria is based on a photograph of Maria F, a girl who survived the Holodomor famine (1932–33) in the Soviet Ukraine. Maria remembers how her sister lay dead and cold next to her in bed. Her father was arrested and beaten and came home only to die. Her mother fell asleep before supper and never woke again. Millions of people starved to death during Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror. The Holodomor is regarded by many as genocide, a deliberate purge of Ukrainians. After the famine, Maria came to Canada where she spent the rest of her life.
Maruschak herself is of Ukrainian descent and heard people retelling their memories of the Holodomor in her childhood. These memories never left her. Project Maria consists of installations produced using mixed technology.