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“We will enjoy flowers again” by Alina Potemska

I went to Ukraine just for three days during Easter to see my brother. I will never forget that fear while

hearing an air siren and dealing with the silent public agreement to be killed any day. Even though it was a relatively safe place. This experience is extremely scary and damaging.

Most people won’t share their real experiences and they should not, they need time to pass

thought to heal wounds, to find stability. They need to get used to not being scared of a clap, plane sound, or any other unexpected loud sound.

Ukrainians want to cherish life, enjoy flowers, sing songs and draw. And we will. We just need time. To love. To win. And maybe a tiny bit of support.

08.03.22 “I wish you to enjoy flowers again!”

My brother wished it to my mum and me on International Women’s Day. Usually, he buys us flowers and nice presents on this day. Now we are all miles apart, not even able either to buy flowers, neither to receive them nor even think about presents. The idea of enjoying beauty felt inappropriate that day. The only thing we were focusing on was surviving…

Art heals.

Art helps to talk and share. I’ve always been the one who carried a small sketchbook

with a pen. Now it is turning into a digital version, but the concept remains: observe, feel, document.

On the 24th of February, life changed significantly. Even being safe myself, I stopped doing everything I used to. I already experienced that feeling during the Revolution of Dignity in 2013/14, the annexation of Crimea the same year, and the long-lasting war since then in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

This strange feeling of responsibility to synchronise your whole life with political changes in your country.

Being settled in London for a few years hasn’t separated me from the same feeling

about my home country. Art saved me again. An emotional rollercoaster that pushed all anxiety feelings to the limit had to be balanced in some way. The inhumane behaviour of occupiers, contrasting sacrificing of Ukrainian heroes more honourable than any Marvel movie ever seen, constant worry about friends and family… I just kept drawing…

– Dr Alina Potemska – visual artist and illustrator, board game designer, Doctor of Arts.

Artist’s Bio

Alina Potemska was born in Kyiv and graduated from The Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. She specialises in visual arts and games. She designs board games and researches effective methods of using games as an educative and healing tool. She considers game as art medium providing fundamental help in understanding the world. Usually she captures daily scenes through drawings and illustrations. After a full-scale invasion in her home country, she focused on

illustration as a way to spread the word of stories from her land. She has exhibited in solo and group shows in many countries, including the UK, USA, France, Poland, and Ukraine

e, introducing the different sides and similarities in illustration and games.

The exhibition is on display from 27 September to 29 October 2022 at the Karamel Gallery, Opening times: Wed-Sat 12-8pm. MAAD, 4 Coburg Road, London N22 6UJ

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