Early in the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 23rd, 2022, New York Magazine invited young Ukrainians — the first generation born after Ukraine won independence — to share their experiences in a kind of oral history. Sixteen Days in Ukraine offers remarkable view into the fierce realities of escalating war. On March 10th, Sana Shahmuradova, 25, a painter from Kyiv, wrote this:
As they were escaping Kyiv by car, my friends came and picked me up. I didn’t have much time to think, I just knew I had to get to my grandmother because she is all alone in the countryside. I left Kyiv with no materials but here at my grandmothers’ I recalled my old habit to sketch on wallpaper scraps. I found some old crayons and gouache that my younger brother left while visiting last summer. Couple days ago my grandma was peeling a boiled beet and I used some of it to paint a woman’s body.
The materials almost felt I wanted to draw again and appeared in front of me.
Wallpaper scraps and beet paint. In the midst of dire threat, fear, upheaval, art appeared.