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Julia Tveritina
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Kyiv
Kyiv
Art diary of war: "I have nowhere else to live"

Yuliya Tveritina – Academician of the National Academy of Arts of Ukraine, master of linear painting, graphic artist, and illustrator. Julia is from Kyiv. For many years she has been living and working in Suzhou (China). From the first days of the war, she received disturbing news from her mother in Kyiv and talked with friends who were trying to survive in destroyed cities, in basements, and in shelters. On March 9, 2022, the artist began to keep an art diary of the war. These are graphic stories and text posts by Yulia about the fate of people she knows personally, the stories of people whose peaceful lives were burst by war...

I’m mentally tired. I’m just believe they all will survive.

9 march 2022

Somewhere at the beginning of the war (only a week ago) I had telephone discussion with Miroslava, the seven-year-old my close friend’s daughter, from Irpin. Then I started drawing this graphic story about her but couldn't finish it. 

Every day, reading the posts of my friends and relatives stuck in the destroyed cities in basements and bomb shelters, short trembling messages from my mom in Kyiv, I wanted to add darker details to the story, but finally I didn’t.

I’m mentally tired. I’m just believe they all will survive. And there is small good news - the cat of Mira's neighbors was finally rescued.  11 days later, a hole was punched in the wall of the common corridor and poor creature got out.

14 march 2022

Тoday my hometown Kyiv was attacked. 

Аgain. I look at the photo of the destroyed house and understand that I know this area well, and I must have seen this house before, because my friend lives very close by. My mom heard the explosions. This pic about the evacuation was supposed to be one of the pages of comic from the previous post, but it didn’t, because little girl Mira is still in Kharkiv, although their house is no longer suitable for habitation, it has gaping holes and no more windows. 

But for now, I would like to use this pic to thank all the volunteer heroes who evacuate people from hot spots, feed and clothe them, help search for missing people, rescue abandoned animals, and do many more wonderful things, instead of being safe somewhere. 

I also thank the public utilities that continue to work in the cities under attack, the fire departments, and everyone who goes to work so that the infrastructure can continue to exist.  I would like to think that the graphic visualization of Mira's evacuation will somehow affect the universe and this will become a reality for her and all the children locked in hell spots now.

20 march 2022.

Kyiv. 25th day of the war. 

The smell of burning and air raid alert. I have videoсall with my mom and hear sirens, then I hear an explosion. The window panes survived thank God.  I remember that from the window of my room in my previous life I always looked at the forest and lakes, and somewhere behind the forest was Irpin, and Bucha, small green peaceful cities, now everything is destroyed there.  Then I think about Mariupol.  Every damn day I think about Mariupol, that giant firefly grave.

 28 march 2022

33th day of war. 

People who survived and evacuated begin to tell their stories.  The fired thing is that a part of them are my friends and acquaintances, I know these families personally.  I started to keep such a diary in pictures, dedicated to these people.  I want Facebook to remind me of these posts later, when the war is over.  to never forget.     

March 6, 2022

My brave friend Masha takes her daughter Veronika out of Irpin, in a half-broken car that was shot earlier in the yard of their destroyed house.  It was the first days of the war, a lot of civilians from Irpin, Bucha and Gostomel tried to leave and escape, but not everyone was lucky.  entire families were shot, no one looked that the word "children" was written on the cars. 

March 15, 2022

My other close friend Julia finally answered my message and said that she had already been evacuated from Bucha to Kyiv. ,, Our entire park zone is covered in huge black holes - traces of the bombing.  I have nowhere else to walk my dog.  A shell hit my house - I have nowhere else to live,,

 31 march 2022

36th day of the war

With a few words about evacuation. None of my family left Kyiv during the war, but I can imagine how deafeningly scary it is when you suddenly find yourself at the train station with a small bag in your hand, in which there are your passport, some food and maybe pair of socks and no return ticket.

March 10, 2022.

My friends, newlyweds Sergiy and Lena say goodbye at the railway station in Kyiv.  Lena is pregnant and leaves with the hope of waiting out the war in Lviv.  Her husband leaves for the front line.  Sergiy is a very peace-loving calm man, he is big fan of tea culture and writes essays on oriental studies.  The last thing Sergiy wants to do is fight, but he has no choice today, if he wants his former life back, like all of us.

March 11 , 2022.  

Exhausted people sleep on the floor of the Poltava-Lviv evacuation train.

4 april 2022

40-th day of war

As I wrote earlier, I started a small series of illustrations about the war ,based on the real stories of my eyewitness friends.  These are stories of ordinary people who woke up on February 24th in a “new wonderful world” in which other people want to forcefully and irrevocably change theirs lives.

March 4th 2022

Kharkiv city.  The children sleep in a basement, on the earthen floor.

April 3, 2022.

Bucha. My childhood friend Andrew looks at the river through a hole in the bridge,  which he passed thousands of times to visit grandparents in his pre-war life. This bridge is covered with burnt cars and civil dead bodies now. It's hard for me to write anything objective about Bucha , because I knew this region too well.  I can only say that I feel the same hole inside right now.

March 19, 2022

My friend Lera from Mariupol. Her father and granny died because of shrapnel wounds in the yard of their own house when they left the basement to found some food.  She was evacuated from the Marine Boulevard area along with a dog that she picked up along the way.  As a result of shelling, 90% of the housing stock was damaged in the city.  Mariupol no longer exists.

7 april 2022

I don’t remember which day of the war, it seems to be the 43rd. 

I continue illustration series of stories of my friends. The good news is that my dog ​​has finally gotten used to the sounds of exploding shells and alarms, and furiously barking back now. and of course, the very good news is that the front has moved away from Kyiv for a little bit , and the dog has nothing to bark at.  I don't know for how long.

April 5. 2022

Mariupol.  

Veronica, my friend Lera's sister, together with her neighbors near their house(already almost destroyed, they sleep in the basement) ,cook food on a fire in dug pits.  The most dangerous thing is to do it under shelling , but in their area it has already become calmer.  Veronica's neighbor planted flowers in flower beds, right in the ground, plowed up by shell fragments.  The flowers have sprouted.

February 24, 2022.

Kyiv.

My friend and colleague Sasha @aleksandra.mako writes on her daughter's back name, age and contact details in case something happens with her in the chaos of evacuation.

Recently, Sasha posted her daughters back photo on Instagram and the post went viral.  the photo was shared , in most cases without giving a link to the source, which in turn encouraged thousands of ,,nice,, people to write rather cruel comments and call the photo a fake. But its not a fake . 

I cannot be sure about much that is happening now, so I use only stories confirmed by a personal contact. I would really like it to be fake staged, or movie, or a dram , but unfortunately it's all real.

12 april 2022

48th day of war

Continue my ,,war diary,,. I didn't think there would be a series when I drew the first picture, so that's how it happened.  I really want to return to painting , hope I haven’t forgotten how to draw something other .

April 10, 2022

The resilient grandmother of my friend Masha (89 years old!), from Bucha, sits in her former living room on her favorite sofa.  She came out of the basement, where lived for more than a month with her five cats and an old dog, and says that now she is quite happy just to be.

March 6, 2022

Kharkiv,  the shell in a residential area. Photo of the dog expressing its dismissive attitude towards falling military shells does really exist, but it was a brown dachshund. 

14 april 2022

50th day!

From the very beginning of the war, I periodically asked myself what material things I would take from home to save if I could.  What bothered me most of all was not even the loss of a large number of paintings and graphics, but the family archive of photographs.  What an irony, to survive a revolution and two wars, and be destroyed in an absurd third.

April 8, 2022

Sophia, my friend's younger sister, could finally get out of the neighbor's basement , in which she hid more than a month, and return home.  She found her home completely defeated by marauders. All the household appliances was carried out , even the fridge and old washing machine. Dear guests smashed the furniture, burned books (probably, to warmed in the flame of knowledge) and made a toilet in the nursery.  But Sophia found her cat alive, and was glad to that.

April 11, 2020.

Here I tried to portray Valentina Stepanovna from Bucha, from whom we once rented rooms for summer holidays. 

I remembered that the house was made of white brick and it was built instead of another, old house that burned down.  I remembered that we bought goat milk and cheese from her, then she was still an active cheerful woman in multi-colored dresses. 

Behind the house there was a field where they planted something, it seems potatoes and corn. Her daughter said that unexploded shells were sticking out of the field, but this did not prevent Valentina Stepanovna from planting something there and grazing her surviving goats. 

A month in the basement under shelling undermined her health, but did not deprive her of optimism.

April 21, 2022

57th day of the war

Kyiv

Ok, i'm a little stressed. Mom visited my apartment yesterday to pick up bills and it turned out that a shell or its fragments fell near (not today, we don’t know exactly when it happened, probably at the end of March), damn it, it fell literally near my house. 

It’s just the area near the wood, beyond which Irpin city is. Garages were destroyed and in the house, which was a little closer, lot of windows were broken, and the gatekeeper was also injured by shrapnel. This is Kyiv guys. Probably 20 meters from my house.

March 9, 2022

Kharkiv

Little Vera, my friend Natasha's daughter, forced to live in subway, because they have no heating, water and electricity at home due to constant shelling. She hasn't been outside for weeks.

March 24, 2022

Kharkiv

My friends with the whole family, with newborn kids and pets, lived at the subway station for more than month. They cooked on the platform and slept in the train cars. 

They wrote to me that they were feeling very lethargic and physically exhausted, and they were planning to flee to Budapest because the little children couldn't take it anymore.  I don’t know where they are now, there is no connection with them, but I know that they finally left Kharkiv.

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