The worst sound for Ksenia Igolkina is an air raid siren. This terrifying experience inspired her to begin creating educational artwork that can now be found in different parts of the world including Saskatoon.
“It’s absolutely the most terrible sound and when we hear it in Kyiv we have to go to shelters,” said Igolkina, who currently resides in Kyiv.
Her work can be seen on the Drinkle building art wall found on Third Avenue.
“There are a lot of rockets around our country,” said Igolkina. “There are a lot of deaths, there are a lot of tears but Ukrainian people find energy and the power to live.”
Igolkina was among many forced to flee to safety when Russia began to attack Ukraine. She was forced to leave everything behind but brought her tablet, used to create art wall piece while living in a shelter.
“I was drawing the piece with the heart the first weeks of war,” said Igolkina. ” I was drawing it, sitting in the shelter at night. I could hear rockets and airplanes and explosions all around this area where we were staying for this night. It was the most terrible moment in my life because I was so scared, totally scared.”
But at the same time she said in that moment she had never been more proud to be among Ukrainian people. Brave people can resist such evil as Russia today. she said.
Her story and the war in Ukraine is what inspired Drinkle building owner Dave Denny to bring Igolkina’s art to Saskatoon.
“It felt important to me to be able to bring her art here,” said Denny. “I wanted to do any little thing I could to help.”
Denny is of Ukrainian heritage. Meanwhile, having her art on display in Saskatoon means so much to Igolkina. When she saw the photos of her work on the Drinkle building wall it was a special moment, she said.
“For every artist it’s very important to know that your art speaks to those who see it,” said Igolkina. ” Art that can reach different people and can speak to different people brings with it real benefits. And the art that you will see on the Drinkle building says a lot about the terrible things happening here in the Ukraine and the bravery of the Ukrainian people.”
Igolkina said she is grateful that more and more people are seeing the message shared through her art.
“Now I understand that maybe thanks to the war I can create something people need in this moment,” said Igolkina.
Igolkina is now in the process of creating new artwork that she hopes to sell and then share the proceeds with a hospital in Kyiv that helps children affected by the war.