Empathy Has No Borders
Yuliya Dan for
British Red Cross
and Leaps & Grounds
City Vistas project in collaboration with Culture Mile and curated by Artiq
This work is the most personal yet. Being Ukrainian in a time of War. Being a lucky one. In this art piece I’ve captured all that is dear and near right now. All the love and horror, hope and fear. It was inspired by real people that I worked from photographs to capture. In the top left corner is a Ukrainian mother holding her child, while a silent tear is frozen on the child’s face. I chose this image as it is so loud, the mother’s look, the wrinkles of sadness and worry, the child’s tear.
I see so many women in that one face, mothers, daughters, sisters. Us collectively as ALL WOMEN. I can’t fully imagine what she (and so many others ) must’ve felt, but as a mother myself that had to rush my child to the emergency room more than once, my heart just goes I’ve never met this woman, but I feel like I know her. I worry about her. I hope she will be ok. I hope she and her child are safe, healthy and well. As I’m sketching this, I keep them close to my heart. I feel like I always will.
I also chose this image, because on original photograph the child is wearing a hat exactly the same as my 2 year old has. I mean, they are identical. This could’ve been us. Me holding him, staring into the unknown, forced out of my own home, and my boy, clinging to me, with tears
running down his cheeks. In the midst of a cold and unforgiving time.
In the centre on the art is a woman that has been inspired by Angelina Jolie, and the incredible work she’s doing with refugee women and children. I’ve portrayed her as a Modern Mary, holding a child, extending her love, care and light to others.
Three generations of women in the right top corner are based on a family of three women that were killed in a missile attack in Odessa. Grandmother, mother and the 13 months old girl were killed instantly. It deeply shook me, the terror of it. How easy three generations could be wiped out with just one strike. They representing all those women that didn’t get a chance to get to safety. It made me think of the work and help that needs to be extended as a preventative measure, not Just post-factum. We should never accept the world in which lives could be so easily taken. The War just can’t be normalised.
I deliberately left some of the women and children faceless in this artwork so one can imagine, that for every one person we see, there are hundreds or thousands that we don’t. These people need help, and they may not even ask for it. It’s our prerogative as a collective human
consciousness to extend our hand and offer help.