Artwork crafted by Ukrainian refugees residing in Limerick is now gracing the halls of the Further Education and Training Campus on O’Connell Avenue.
The “Revived by Art” exhibition proudly displays the masterpieces of an art therapy studio that found its home at the Redemptorist Catholic Church over the past year.
Curated by Ukrainian artist Lyubov Makarenko, who has been utilizing art as therapy in the city since July 2022, this exhibit commemorates the resilience required to create beauty amidst the heart-wrenching events in Ukraine.
Lyubov hails from Mariupol and holds positions as a teacher at the Mariupol branch of the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture, the Priazovsky State Technical University (Department of Architecture), as well as working at the Mariupol State University’s faculty of advertising and public relations, journalism, and the Mariupol School of Arts.
Having spent two months in the city under Russian occupation, she found solace in Limerick, where she has resided and worked since 2022.
Her art studio was established with the aim to educate both children and adults alike.
In addition to serving as a creative space, these classes have provided a psychological sanctuary for more than 40 individuals from diverse backgrounds, aged between 3 and 76 years. The studio has welcomed refugees from various regions of Ukraine, as well as local Irish, Georgians, and Belarusians.
“Since the onset of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, many Ukrainians lost the ability to perceive life in all its vibrant hues,” Lyubov expresses.
She acknowledges the warmth and support the Ukrainian community has received from the people of Limerick.
Last August, the studio hosted its first exhibition, and now, this latest showcase comprises a collection of works created since October 2022. Lyubov emphasizes that the exhibition would not have been possible without the unwavering support of Fr. Seamus and his benevolent colleagues at the Redemptorists.
“He provided the impetus and played a pivotal role in organizing the studio. For over a year, Fr. Seamus has sustained us all with his kind words, friendly smile, and even treats for all the participants of the art space,” she praises.
Most of Ms. Makarenko’s students had no prior experience with art and were introduced to the fundamentals of fine art at the studio. This exhibition is a testament to the fruition of many individuals’ creative visions.
After half a year of inspiring classes, the studio’s students have mastered a myriad of artistic techniques, producing a portfolio of approximately 100 works in mediums such as graphics, painting, as well as decorative and applied art.
The pieces on display encompass various genres, including thematic composition, landscape, urban landscape, and portraiture.
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