'In situations of war, the greatest art is produced'

Artist who fled Ukraine hosts exhibition paying tribute to her compatriots.

Artist Lucy Nychai fled the war in Ukraine almost six months ago. Now, in the peaceful setting of the Arbroath coast, the horrors of war are brought to the forefront of a new exhibition.

Her work pays tribute to the movement of birds from east to west, mirroring the flight of the Ukrainian people.

When the war broke out Lucy opened her art studio as a shelter for displaced artists and their families.

Lucy explained: “When the bombing and air strikes started and the alarms began in Kiev, I started to realise that something very terrible was coming.

“Most of the artists from my previous programs had asked if they could stay with their children and, of course, I said ‘yes, its children’.

“We spent 30 hours on the road to get to the space. When I arrived, it was already full of people.”

The new exhibition in Auchmithie was organised by Angus artist Mary-Ann Orr, who is preparing to drive a truck of supplies to the war torn country.

She said: “We both have the passion and in situations of war, the greatest art is produced.

“And now is the time to be supporting people in art. She has all of the facilities there, but unfortunately there is no generator and no running water and the artists are basically waiting to get back to work.

“I thought I would do whatever I could to help her.”

Lucy’s dream is to return to her homeland and reopen her art studio for children who have been displaced as a result of the war.

She said: “Back home in the spring, these birds travel to the small village areas, but when they did this last year they saw the burning and the bombing. They were scared.

“They started to travel to west Ukraine and find refuge in big trees because they don’t know what they must do – they just wait for help.

“It is the same for people who come from east Ukraine to west Ukraine and live in big gym centres, hundreds of people in the same place and they wait for help because they don’t know what will happen in the future.”

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