Ukraine-Russia War Live News: Latest Updates

Valerie Hopkins

Volodymyr Titulenko at his studio in Rusaniv, Ukraine, with the portray “Spring in Rusaniv,” high proper. Photographs by Nicole Tung for The New York Times

Volodymyr Titulenko has lengthy been haunted by his early childhood recollections of World War II. Now, at 82 years previous, the artist is expressing his ache in regards to the present conflict by his portray.

Mr. Titulenko’s residence within the village of Rusaniv, an hour east of Kyiv, was on the entrance line between the Ukrainian army and the forces invading from Russia. With his spouse and granddaughter in Kyiv ensuring his work in a gallery there was secure, he spent two weeks sheltering in his village residence alone.

Mr. Titulenko, who can see nicely out of just one eye, has been glued to tv reviews in regards to the conflict, and that’s mirrored in his artwork.

After he returned to his studio in his flower-filled yard, certainly one of his first work was “Spring in Rusaniv,” which reveals blossoming wildflowers within the foreground and flaming Russian tanks within the background. On the street close to the tanks, the our bodies of two Russian troopers are splayed.

During a go to on Tuesday, Mr. Titulenko was portray high-quality brushstrokes on his newest work: “Mariupol ’22,” a big canvas depicting the destruction of the town and a Madonna-like determine cradling a baby. He mentioned he determined to color it when he couldn’t get a picture out of his head from the metal plant within the metropolis the place Ukrainian fighters held out for weeks. It was a picture of Anna Zaitseva, who had been sheltering within the bowels of the metal plant since Feb. 25 along with her toddler son, Svyatoslav.

“I saw an image of a woman emerging from the Azovstal steel plant holding a child,” he mentioned.

The mom determine had a halo round her head, a nod to a different of his passions: icon portray.

Behind him, his granddaughter Eva was portray at a small easel. One of her work was going to be auctioned off to boost money for the Ukrainian military. Her mom was in Ukraine’s east volunteering to assist the army.

Mr. Titulenko, who additionally carves picket sculptures, has lengthy painted political work alongside along with his icons and bucolic landscapes. Some work hanging in his studio gallery satirize leaders like former President Viktor Yanukovych, who used his political position to change into the richest man in Ukraine, and one other businessman who grew to become president, Petro Poroshenko. The two males are proven in a single work roping off the nation’s pure resources with an indication saying “New Tariffs.”

Nearby hung a portray of two babies standing earlier than a heap of destroyed army {hardware}. The work was completed a number of years in the past and was impressed by Mr. Titulenko’s childhood in postwar Berlin, the place his father, a Soviet soldier, was stationed. During the conflict, he was along with his grandparents in Ukraine, separated for a number of years from his mom, who was finding out artwork in Moscow and had been evacuated to the Ural Mountains, and from his father, who had additionally been an artwork pupil in Moscow earlier than being deployed to the entrance.

His mom finally left Russia, posing as a nurse to choose up Mr. Titulenko in Ukraine earlier than going to Berlin to reunite along with his father, and he spent a number of years after the conflict in Germany. He didn’t count on to see childhood recollections repeated in his previous age, and he particularly didn’t count on Russians to invade his residence.

“My mother was from Russia,” Mr. Titulenko, who himself was born within the Russian capital whereas his dad and mom have been finding out, mentioned. “Who could expect someone would come from Russia to kill us?”

His spouse, Ludmila, mentioned she had a tough time understanding why Russia would invade.

“We always lived here peacefully, calmly,” she mentioned. “No one had any problems with language or nationality; no one ever talked about it.”

Mr. Titulenko has one last main project in thoughts. “I will paint a mural to celebrate the Ukrainian victory,” he mentioned.

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