Tanya Rusnak was born in Edmonton, Alberta. Today, she lives and works in Calgary, Alberta. She studied art at the Alberta College of Art in Calgary and L'Ecole des arts decoratifs, in Strasbourg, France. In 1993, Rusnak developed the installation O Emigratsii (On Emigration) to explore the complex legacy of Ukrainian immigration and settlement. This art work focusses on Alberta's East Central-bloc settlement, an area of Ukrainian settlement east of Edmonton.
Rusnak is of Ukrainian heritage; she is the descendant of immigrants to Canada. This project is very much about understanding herself and what she has inherited. She describes her work as "A recovery project - a work of preservation. It is an effort to reconstruct, elevate, and preserve the fallen signs, symbols, broken narratives and persisting words of early Ukrainian immigrants." As time passes, the histories of Ukrainian immigration to Western Canada are in danger of being lost to neglect or idealization.