Painting helping some Ukrainian women cope with loss of their partners
Iryna Farion puts the finishing touches on an oil painting in an art studio in the capital Kyiv. The artwork shows two intertwined trees held together by their roots, as though in embrace, and a radiant yellow sun shining against a moody blue background.
Describing the trees in her artwork, Farion says she feels like it’s her and her husband, who got killed in the brutal war Russia launched against Ukraine nearly 17 months back.
She is not alone. Thousands of Ukrainian women have lost their partners on the battlefield. Most of the men once led ordinary lives before dropping everything to fight for their homeland.
Farion’s husband, Oleksandr Alimov, got fatally shot on the Donetsk frontline in December. Overwhelmed with immense grief, she says she has found some consolation in painting alongside other women who lost their partners during the war.
For these women, art has turned into therapy. They are apparently drawing power to live with their loss from an art therapy project project “Alive. True Stories of Love”.
Farion still wears her wedding ring. “I can’t take off the ring yet,” she says. The couple had been together for a decade. Her husband used to work as an IT specialist for a well-known company. He voluntarily joined the army in the early days of the invasion.
Olena Sokalska, who lost her husband in a car accident years ago, launched the promising project in January. It’s free to join and local artists are often seen volunteering their time to offer the women a bit of guidance as they try to express their grief on canvases.
It’s called ‘Alive’ because the participating women should feel alive, Sokalska explained, adding: “These women should have some time for themselves.”