FAU artist speaks out against Ukraine war through self-portait


The hectic streets Valeriia Pareichuk applied to walk in Kherson, Ukraine, are now stuffed with burned-out houses as found on her tv and phone screens. Above 5,000 miles from her household and friends, she finds solace in her art and pictures to encourage peace.

“More people today now know that Ukraine exists as a place,” Pareichuk stated. “This is anything that’s still going on and I’m glad I get to share our proud background, tradition, foodstuff, and we have often been which means to share it with every person. Now, I can share and assistance check out to be a section of the change as a result of photography, art and additional to assistance raise recognition.”

She was born and raised in Kherson, which is the southern component of Ukraine. Her hobbies included making use of her digital camera and having photographs of her buddies, loved ones and homeland landscapes. She even remembers carrying out arts and crafts and getting pottery lessons.

“Our relatives did prepare to sooner or later shift to the United States,” Pareichuk said. “It took above 10 many years then it happened out of nowhere.”

(Valeriia Pareichuk / Courtesy)

In the center of her freshman 12 months of large faculty in Kherson, her loved ones acquired a notification that they necessary to get the job done on a couple of much more files and they could go to the United States.

In February 2015, the now 22-year-previous moved with her mom to Jacksonville when her father and his facet of the loved ones stayed in Ukraine.

“It’s been a lengthy journey,” Pareichuk mentioned. “Even nevertheless I’ve taken English courses given that university in Ukraine, the to start with problem for me coming here definitely was the language, and I didn’t converse English at the time.”

Within a week of relocating from Ukraine to Jacksonville, she was enrolled in higher college. In just the to start with pair years, she said she looked forward to making new pals and having superior grades.

“Some of the other learners knew what I was going through,” Pareichuk stated. “I did not have any Russian or Ukrainian buddies and some of them experienced issue speaking with me.”

She had to use Google Translate.

“I was just thrown into it all,” she explained. “I went that minimal additional mile to discover some a lot more [English] even from when I was in Ukraine and I knew owning the likelihood to be in this article may support with a bunch of alternatives.”

She graduated large university and now attends Florida Atlantic College and life in Delray Beach. At FAU, she researched architecture for two yrs and now scientific tests studio arts, learning images and printmaking.

When at FAU, Pareichuk been given news that Kherson was presently currently being occupied by the Russians, and tens of millions of Ukrainians grew to become refugees as a consequence of Russia’s invasion that began Feb. 24.

“When a great deal of people inquire me where I’m from and I say Ukraine, a great deal of persons didn’t know exactly where it is,” she claimed. “But now, they just get so silent, quiet they never know what to say or they are like, ‘I’m so sorry.’”

The invasion transpired the working day just before her birthday, and that evening she couldn’t snooze and she was continually looking at Instagram to continue to be up to date.

“I noticed folks publishing that they under no circumstances believed they’d wake up to the seem of an explosion or a bomb or guns,” Pareichuk reported.

She said a two-thirty day period dip into despair led her to not experience effectively sufficient to go to get the job done or college, and she felt like there was not just about anything she could do.

“I was so baffled,” Pareichuk said. ”I begun texting my pals and spouse and children customers.”

She still retains in contact with her father in Ukraine and he keeps her up to date on what’s happening in her hometown.

“This full matter essentially occurred in 2014 with Crimea,” Pareichuk stated. “People really don’t chat about this anymore and that would make me worried mainly because war, placing luggage about people’s heads getting them to a basement and questioning them, getting particular documents away is harassment that can go on for years and nobody ought to go by way of that.”

She is possessing problems being in touch with her father and buddies simply because the online relationship has been disrupted.

“At to start with, I didn’t know how I’m heading to get through it,” Pareichuk mentioned. “I just felt so hopeless since I’m so much away and I wish I could be there in the moment to be there for all people. I’m so considerably absent, but there’s some thing I can however do via my art and I can speak out on this.”

She decided to converse out on this via artistic expression. She likes to perform in distinctive mediums but mainly concentrates on digital artwork and images. She made a decision to use her pictures and electronic artwork to spread consciousness about what is heading on and to communicate out about the war in Ukraine.

An illustration is the Ukrainian nationwide gown, called vyshyvanka, given to her loved ones by her godmother. Pareichuk crafted the headpiece, took self-portraits and integrated specific and symbolic flowers. The blue-and-yellow ribbons connected to the again symbolize the sky and the fields of wheat. These are ordinarily worn on holidays and particular situations by girls and young unmarried women of all ages.

(Valeriia Pareichuk / Courtesy)

In her self-portrait series, she needed to signify attractiveness, satisfaction and hope. Even although she’s under no circumstances utilised herself as a model, she required to be the topic to convey normal emotion about how she felt about Ukraine remaining underneath siege.

“For the self-portrait, I had different people both of those in Ukraine and listed here domestically telling me they can truly feel what I experience by means of that collection and comprehend,” Pareichuk reported.

She also preferred every person to know that she is very pleased to be Ukrainian and that they will continue to benefit and have on their prosperous lifestyle and history.

The sunflower is included in most of these works because it is the countrywide flower of Ukraine. Some of her images are designed with a movie digital camera, and her electronic illustrations such as the fight boot above the sunflowers depict the destruction and demolishment of the nation, its men and women and places.

(Valeriia Pareichuk / Courtesy)

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“The sunflower is a metaphor,” Pareichuk reported, “like how it grows towards the sun and it will always get up.”

Regardless of trying to crack Ukrainians apart, this invasion has only produced them stronger and nearer to every single other, she claimed.

“The very first just one I did was the Ukrainian female and it was a electronic artwork, and it was a girl wearing the standard Ukrainian clothing and acquiring tears arrive down her face,” Pareichuk mentioned. “It felt so fantastic to share that. It helped me to get via this entire factor and even although I’m so far absent, I can however converse out on this and people get a superior knowing that Ukraine is an unbiased country.”

(Valeriia Pareichuk / Courtesy)

Soon after correctly sharing her artwork and images with relatives, professors, classmates and close friends, Pareichuk was a part of the on the web 2022 FAU Senior Exhibition “Exploration By way of Expression,” a showcase of presenting college student operate. She was also aspect of a drawing exhibition that was also Ukraine-connected, working with coloured pencils to make an summary layout over her self-portrait.

“It brought a large amount of exposure and thoughts,” Pareichuk said. “I was grateful for that, and it demonstrates individuals continue to treatment … and to be knowledgeable on the society and what is however occurring.”

Pareichuk’s images abilities have also gone over and above the FAU campus with offers to just take portraits and set up photoshoots.

“People tell me they do not see [the war] on the information as a lot any longer and they check with me, ‘is it in excess of?’ and I say no, it’s not and men and women are nonetheless having difficulties from this,” she said. “But we have gotten a ton of aid from a number of nations, and if you’ve at any time wished to shield your society and what you’re proud of, then you are Ukraine. I have my little yellow-and-blue ribbons tied to my automobile and I’m happy a lot more individuals now know Ukraine’s tradition, fashion, and I’m happy I get to share that as a lot as probable.”


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