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Bullet marks on the fences

Story: Ivanka Siolkovska

Illustration: #OlegGryshchenko


Ivanka's grandparents moved to Canada after World War II: first they were taken from Ukraine to Nazi Germany, and later they were able to start a new life overseas. The family preserved the Ukrainian language and traditions, so Ivanka felt a connection with Ukraine. When Russia openly attacked Ukraine, Ivanka moved to the Polish border. There it was necessary to help people fleeing the war: for example, there were children who crossed the border alone. The volunteer was looking for a safe place for them.

Later, the flow of migrants decreased, and the need for many volunteers at the border disappeared. Ivanka moved to Ukraine, visited a new city almost every day, where some kind of help was needed. Finally, she reached Bucha (Kyiv Oblast) and decided to stay there longer.

Terrible photos of the destruction and murders in Bucha spread all over the world, the image of the affected city went down in history. Nevertheless, the woman saw how quickly Ukrainians restore and clean Bucha after the liberation. Ivanka was impressed by the beauty of the city, so she wanted to make it happier. Once the woman met a resident, Oleksandr, who lost his son in the war, and his house was completely destroyed by the Russians. He said he wants to leave Bucha because all he saw here were the bullet holes in his fence as a reminder of his loss.

Ivanka decided to transform the bullet holes into something that would remind Oleksandr of happy moments. She drew around the holes the favorite flowers of the man — daffodils. Everything around was already overflowing with flowers and greenery, so it seemed appropriate to continue the work of nature.

While the artist was painting Oleksandr's fence, other neighbors began to come to her. They

enjoyed the idea, so Ivanka repeated the painting on six more fences. Unfortunately, the volunteer didn’t have more paint with her. So now Ivanka hopes that Ukrainians will adopt this idea of ​​turning bullet holes into art. After all, it not only removes the consequences of hostilities, but also has a therapeutic effect.


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