My dear, sweet friend,

I haven’t met you yet, but I love to talk to you and read your socials. You remind me how much good can come out of this often darkened world of ours.

I have been hiding away with anxiety over a war that’s happening not that far away… One man’s quest to spread his ego and hate.

Unlike you, I didn’t grow up in conflict. The most conflict I lived through was avoiding my father after work, we'd run spreading through the house to avoid his hand and sharp tongue.

It wasn’t until I was eight that I witnessed my first war. Neighbors bombing one another. Gunfire. Turmoil.

Panic growing from a single phone call.

I returned home grateful for the serenity of my country but witnessed many wars on the news. That’s as close to the front line as we ever got.

I returned to my fathers' homeland four more times and it was still filled with bombings, shootings, and troubles. You could hear guns in the night. But it’s not war like you grew up in.

The last time I went back, there was a semblance of peace. A rebuilding of sorts and a few steps forward. There was the hope of lasting peace.

I look at Ukraine in the snippets of news I can bear to read, holding my breath and searching for a tiny bit of good news or hope in the horror of one man’s war.

I often return to your social page to read and learn from your family on the ground there and find the light even in these dark times.

This morning your page bought me a little peace and hope in the darkness. Your family had managed to send you two. simple. words.

“мы целы"

We're alive


Artists notes:

I started this image with the intention to create something that would express my feelings around the current world climate. I sat for hours researching Ukraine and its flora, fauna, history, and culture. I just didn't have the knowledge or idea of what I would want that image to look like. Animals brought a softness I didn't feel necessary to the image. I left the image alone and instead messaged my friend who is from Russia originally (who has their own incredible story of survival and fleeing the iron curtain) and I ended up writing the letter above.

The strength of the Ukrainians in these dark times brings so much light and hope to the world. My children always called places starting with U as 'my' or 'our' growing up, so I entitled this piece as "Our-Kraine".