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Ukrainian children paint their destroyed city of Mariupol

“24 February” by Yelyzaveta Lapteva
Ukrainian children paint their destroyed city of Mariupol
 Mariupol school of arts, like many other organizations of the destroyed and occupied city, was relocated to the west-Ukrainian city of Lviv in 2022. After Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, its forces occupied Mariupol by May, bombing the city’s residential areas and killing thousands of civilians. 400,000 out of 500,000 Mariupol residents were forced to leave their homes, including children who studied at the school of arts.

Their school opened the exhibition “Mariupol. Children” in Lviv organ hall on 25 November 2022. The exhibition shows the best paintings of children from Mariupol painted already during the war.

All of them show the destruction as seen by children’s eyes or memoirs from their Mariupol located on the sea coast.

They were drawing in the Lviv organ hall while listening to organ music during the art therapy sessions. This was one of many ways local initiatives helped children and teenagers who survived Russian occupation and lost their homes.

“They draw because they have what to put on paper, something to tell the world with the help of colors and images,” said Oksana Pekhotska-Hnatyshyn, a teacher of drawing who too has relocated from Mariupol to Lviv. Several of her works were also present at the exhibition.

“24 February” by Yelyzaveta Lapteva
“Peaceful sky” by Yelyzaveta Lapteva. The painting also shows the mural in Mariupol which showed Milana — a girl who was a victim of Russian shelling in 2015. Russians painted the mural over after occupying the city.

“The Sea of Azov” by Yevhenia Puolokeinen, 15-year-old.
“Black-and-white hope” by Yelyzaveta Lapteva
“An abandoned puppy” by Yelyzaveta Lapteva

The teacher of the Mariupol school of arts Oksana Pekhotska-Hnatyshyn has also participated in the exhibition, showing several of her painting:

“Fleeing for life” by Oksana Pekhotska-Hnatyshyn
“10 March 2022” by Oksana Pekhotska-Hnatyshyn
“Inspiration” by Oksana Pekhotska-Hnatyshyn

The Lviv organ hall continues working during the war, regularly conducting concerts of organ and classical music. Musicians who were also forced to leave their homes in the east of Ukraine due to Russian attack are also participating. In particular, the Luhansk Philharmonic Orchestra is often giving its concerts in Lviv. They will be able to return to their homes in Luhansk Oblast only after Ukraine liberates those territories.

The Luhansk Philharmonic Orchestra plays their concert on the day of Dignity and Freedom (20 November 2022) in the Lviv organ hall. Photo by The Luhansk Philharmonic Orchestra.

Currently, due power outages, the Lviv organ hall like many private companies and municipal institutions in Ukraine got used to work with generator:

A generator, a piano and newspapers of the Lviv organ hall at the entrance to the building. Photo by Euromaidan Press
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