Support for Ukrainian artists - site hosted by Observatory of creative freedom - Observatoire de la liberté de création
Olga Kvasha
"In her] yard", 2016. I met this cat in the village between Kyiv and Tchernihiv. This is an ancient place with very old houses. They were built more than a hundred years ago. Initially, these houses had a thatched roof, but in the 1960s the roofs were replaced. When my friend and I stopped to see a beautiful garden with apples in the grass, this cat was displeased. But later an old woman came out of the house and explained that the cat was protecting its kittens. This old woman had been living alone for a long time, but she had a garden, a flower garden and a vineyard. I really liked that the old woman named the little kittens Rosa and Periwinkle. I very much hope that the old woman and her animals are alive and well.
"The warmth of poplars", 2019. Poplars are special trees in the Ukrainian landscape. There are many Ukrainian works in painting and literature about them. They grow near the road I take to my parents' house. Now they are next to my mother, who stayed in Ukraine. Poplars are also my home. I miss them. All year round they drink deeply of the sun and glow from the inside. And then in autumn they become as warm as the sun. So that even in November, you can stand by them and keep warm.
“Path to the Dnieper”, 2017 It is summer. The wheat is almost ready to be harvested and smells delicious. A light breeze blows ears scattered with the flowers of flax, dandelion and wild carrot. There is a path traced by the wheels of a tractor, the Ukrainian tractor that has become world famous since the beginning of the war, as it is now used to tow Russian tanks abandoned by the occupying troops. In the background flow the waters of the Dnieper, celebrated by our poet Taras Shevchenko. His remains were transferred to Ukraine according to his wishes, and buried on a hill overlooking the Dnieper, Chernecha Hora (the Monk's Mountain), near Kaniv, a town near his birthplace.
“Sea Sea”, 2013 This is in Marioupol. Marioupol’s beach. I painted everything the sea offers, from polished pebbles to shells. I painted a world of abundance, light and joy, colors, where each element has its place, exists by itself among others, in harmony. Where is this world now ?
"Green Oak", 2021. I saw this big tree in a dense forest near Kyiv. It seemed to me that I met a man, very handsome and intelligent. I wanted to talk to him. There is a Ukrainian song "Green Oak, why did you lean over?" This song rang in my head when I was there. I sign many of my paintings with fragments of Ukrainian songs or poems. This forest is located where the most difficult battles of the Ukrainian army with the Russian occupiers take place. I worry about him as a person close to me. In his body - strength and youth. In the Green Palace, he is the lord of the forest. There is no ruler over him. Only the Sun.

My name is Olga Kvasha. I am an artist and art teacher. My first education was as an artist, I graduated from the Lviv Academy of Arts. My second education is that of a copyright lawyer.
 When Russia attacked Ukraine, my family insisted that my daughter and I go to visit relatives in another country. I had to leave my mother, my house and all my paintings in Ukraine. I can't sell them right now because no one can ship them. Also, some art platforms no longer allow selling paintings from Ukraine (I understand that this is difficult now). Selling paintings was half of my family budget. The war also ended my lessons for children. From ten lessons a week I now have only one hour online. My husband is also an artist and now he defends my country, like all Ukrainians. But the worst thing is not this, but my pain for Ukraine, where I want to return as soon as possible. Go back to rebuild our cities and paint many new paintings.
Almost all my paintings were inspired by the nature and architecture of Ukraine. Both are being destroyed by Russia at the moment. For example, the forest where I painted "Green Oak" and "The warmth of Poplars" is near Kyiv. Now fierce battles are taking place there. Also, I do not know the fate of the old house in the painting "In her courtyard" on the road from Kyiv to Tchernihiv, or my favorite place "Road to the Dnieper". My painting "Sea, Sea" depicts a beach in Mariupol, a city destroyed by Russian aircraft bombing. Schools, hospitals and maternity hospitals have been destroyed. Today more than 2,000 civilians have died in Mariupol.

I also want to mention the responsibility of cultural figures and the common people in their country’s policies. In December 2013-February 2014, Ukrainians protested in Kyiv during the Revolution of Dignity because they did not want to have a puppet president who supported Putin. My husband and I have protested since that first day. They tried to brutally suppress that peaceful protest, and many protesters were killed in the streets of Kyiv. But we did not give up. We were shot, beaten, but so many of us came, more than a million people, because we wanted to be part of Europe and not Russia. We wanted freedom and democracy for our children.